May 6, 2013, 9:56 AM EDT
While other teams battle in the first round, the Philadelphia Flyers don’t have anything to do beyond prepare for next season and reflect on what went wrong.
When Flyers owner Ed Snider was asked about the latter, he was able to come up with several causes for his team’s failed campaign.
“I don’t want this to sound like excuses because all teams had a shortened schedule and just a one-week training camp,” Snider told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Some teams did well [the previous season] and were happy with their system. We got knocked out by New Jersey in the second round, and New Jersey dominated, and I think the coach wanted to tweak the system.
“And we ended up with the worst schedule in the league. At one point, we played 20 games, and Boston had played 15 [actually, 14]. You already have a compressed schedule, and ours was compressed more than anyone else’s. And when you have tweaking, no practices, and a bad start, we never recovered.”
It didn’t help that the Philadelphia Flyers dealt with plenty of injuries along the way, especially when it came to their defense. Luke Schenn and Kimmo Timonen were the only blueliners to play in more than 37 games for the Flyers in 2013
“It was sort of like everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” Snider added. “It was the perfect storm.”
That doesn’t mean that there weren’t a few positives for the Flyers this season. Forward Jakub Voracek enjoyed a breakout season and Snider liked what he saw from defenseman Erik Gustafsson. He also was happy with goaltender Steve Mason, who had a 1.90 GAA and .944 save percentage in seven games.
Mason, 24, won the Calder Trophy in 2008–09, but struggled mightily after that until the Blue Jackets finally traded him. Still, Snider dismissed the notion that his seven-game stint with Philadelphia was too small a sample size to judge him on.
“It’s not like he’s just a kid right out of juniors,” Snider said. “He had great credentials coming into the NHL, and those credentials don’t just float away.”
Snider also expressed confidence in coach Peter Laviolette and GM Paul Holmgren.
He added that the organization will continue to do everything possible to win their first Stanley Cup since 1975. Although he jokingly admitted that some of the near misses over the years make him feel like “someone has a pin in a voodoo doll somewhere and is putting it to us.”
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