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Closing the book on 2014

Like it or not, the Flyers are set to close out the 2014 portion of their schedule, as just two games remain -- tonight at Arizona, and Wednesday at Colorado.

There are plenty of adjectives that the Flyers and their fans could use to describe calendar-year 2014. "Boring," however, isn't one of them.

Throughout the year, the Flyers showed how exciting of a team they could be to watch. You may remember their staggering amount of third-period-comeback wins (setting a franchise record), or forcing a seven-game first-round playoff series against the hated New York Rangers -- just the 11th all-time playoff series between the two rivals, and the second seven-gamer.

You may also remember the five Flyers that headed to Russia to represent their countries in the Sochi Olympics -- Kimmo Timonen, Michael Raffl, Jakub Voracek, Mark Streit and then-Flyer Andrej Meszaros -- though Timonen was the lone Flyer to come home with a medal. Additionally, a familiar face in Ron Hextall assumed duties as the seventh GM in franchise history, while their American League affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms were brought back to Pennsylvania -- this time, taking the ice at the beautiful PPL Center in downtown Allentown, Pa. More recently, you may recall Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek establishing themselves as the preeminent one-two scoring punch in the NHL.

But on the other end of the spectrum, you may remember how frustrating the defense was to watch, and feelings of pity for Steve Mason after bailing it out on a game-after-game basis. There was also the heartbreak of losing to the Rangers in seven games, and subsequently watching them proceed to the Stanley Cup final. You may also remember how poor the team's possession numbers were throughout the year -- Corsi, we hardly knew ye!

When the 2014-15 campaign opened up, it seemed like it would be an eternity before the team would win their first game, after going winless in their first four. At one point, following a stretch where the Flyers were 1-7-1 in a nine-game November span, team chairman Ed Snider proclaimed that he had "never seen anything like it," in reference to the drought in secondary scoring after Voracek and Giroux.

Looking back, calendar-year 2014 seemed just about right for the Flyers. There were the moments that were incredible for fans to watch and experience, but there were just as many (if not more) that made fans want to throw their remotes through their televisions. (Hey, at least nobody tossed their jerseys on the ice -- yet).

But as the team sits in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division with a 14-15-6 record and 34 points, there's no way to gauge how they could finish at season's end. They don't look like they're shaping up to be a Stanley Cup contender, or a playoff team at that -- but then again, they didn't look like they were playoff-bound at this point last year. At the same time though, they don't look like a contender in the Connor McDavid/Jack Eichel Sweepstakes either, despite sitting at 23rd in the league. 

There are plenty of ways that one could describe 2014 for the Flyers, and all the joy, heartbreak and intrigue that resulted. Plenty of those moments could be summed up excellently with certain four-letter words that I probably shouldn't repeat here. But ultimately, it was always interesting and never boring -- which is just about what the Flyers have specialized in throughout their 48-season history.

2015 may not replicate the joy and heartbreak that 2014 provided for the Flyers and their fans. But it will continue to be interesting, and provide further storylines for fans to enjoy (or not).

Rob Riches is a contributor to Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Riches61


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