A wise man once told me to enjoy the little things, because one day, you may not have it for a while. I understand that now with Flyers hockey. The last playoff game played at home in front of a crowd was the 2018 dismantling of the Flyers by their In-State rival Pittsburgh Penguin. While the rebuild was imminent, it does hurt watching all of rival teams in NY and NJ enjoy the intensity and meaningfulness of playoff hockey.
There’s no other feeling like drinking an overpriced beer and eating overpriced chicken tenders whilst being surrounded by 19,000 plus screaming Flyers fans. Going through all the emotions, heartbreaks and excitement in the Wells Fargo Center with the best fans in hockey has no better feelings.
Watching playoff hockey in the bubble didn’t feel right. The 2019-2020 season felt like it was the year. That everything was finally in place. The Flyers had depth, a coach who was on his last chance in the NHL to win a cup, goal scoring and most importantly, Carter Hart and Brian Elliot.
This was such an incredible moment. If it was at the Wells Fargo Center, it would have been explosive and emotional. The top would have blown off of the Farg. As it stands the Flyers haven’t had playoff hockey run through South Philly since the 2017-2018. The drought has felt like a lifetime over.
There was so much hope with last season when the Flyers got Ryan Ellis, Cam Atkinson and other pieces to help this team make a run. Obviously, we remember how that season went. The fans want this team back into the playoffs and it is coming. For the first time in a while, the Flyers have some really good young talent on their roster who have proven to be legit and worthy of becoming part of the core of this team.
Owen Tippett, Noah Cates, Morgan Frost, Ivan Provorov, Cam York, Carter Hart and Travis Konecny have all taken giant leaps forward this season under new head coach John Tortorella. These kids have proven that they can carry the weight of a franchise and can be built around. I can even make an argument for some of the veterans on this roster who have taken a step too. Add in a Sean Couturier and a Cam Atkinson and this team becomes one step closer to playoff hockey.
The big difference for the Flyers is having players on this roster who all have playoff experience. Konecny, Couturier, Atkinson, Provorov, Hart and others all have had meaningful playoff runs. This is big because we can see just how the New Jersey Devils inexperience has taken its toll on them versus the veteran heavy and battle-hardened New York Rangers. The fans will be ready when we can have moments like there were during that 2010 cup run.
I am not torn about whether or not I would like the Flyers to make the playoffs every other season like they were doing during the 2010’s. While I would love to see meaningful hockey, watching this team play games and grow together is just as watching them play for Lord Stanely’s Cup. When the time comes, you better believe that the fans will be ready to bring the noise and energy that make up the home ice advantage in Philly!