Flyers' "Age of Orange" Season Was a Gift From the Players and Management

Has A New Age Begun?
Apr 16, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Capitals center Connor McMichael (24)
Apr 16, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Capitals center Connor McMichael (24) / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers 2023-24 campaign has been dissected and characterized in many ways. Some think it was a victory for the rebuilding process, with the club just missing the playoffs and looking very dangerous for large parts of the season. Others see failure reminiscent of the recent past, with a late-season collapse comparable to the city’s football club, and not in a good way.

Objectively both can be true and the Flyers, like beauty, may be in the eye of the beholder, where people like the same thing and draw two completely different conclusions. But the truth about this season was the Flyers played meaningful hockey until the last three minutes of the final game of the season. As small as it may be, and still just a morale victory, that marker signals a turning point for the franchise.

This season was a far cry from the days when the only excitement after January was watching to see which players we could trade away. Over the last decade, how many times did the Flyers, far out of playoff contention, trailing in the third, look more interested in being right for the next day’s tee time than trying to win the game? The lesson learned from a decade of this behavior should be apathetic players make for an apathetic fan base. Have the Flyers finally learned this? When the players approach their job as any Comcast technical support representative does, it will eventually dishearten even the most ardent fan bases.

Though the Flyers ran out of gas in the end, this season was a master class by coach John Tortorella. With an arguably less talented roster, it seemed that the coach was able to get the team to believe that every shift mattered, and they played that way for the entire season. This team found a common purpose and played better than the sum of its parts. I believe it is because each player cared, each player saw it as a mission or a sacred duty. Each player wanted to win to the point that they gave up more of themselves, be it less time on the greens, or away from family. If a player did not put the team and the wins first, he would not play. That is what Tortorella has instilled, and make no mistake, it was a gift to the fans.

If you think back to the season finale, as the Flyers season was finally snuffed out, the energy from the fans was electric. I can’t recall the last time the Wells Fargo Center was rocking like that for a Flyers game.  When every shift mattered to the players, every shift mattered to the fans. The fans have something they want to invest in, to cheer for players who love the team as much as they do.  If this is the New Age of Orange, then there is promise in the Flyers' near future.