Flyers can Take Pride in Late-season Effort

The 2015-16 season has come to an end for the Philadelphia Flyers. The Game 6 playoff loss against the Washington Capitals in the first round series stings and will for some time, but most fans didn’t even think the team would get that far to the playoffs, let alone make the playoffs.

Reflecting back over the season, it has been good, even with the first-round exit. There were many changes and transitions to overcome. The Flyers proved that this team had strength and resilience to overcome many obstacles and were a enjoyable team to watch. It is what earned them an emotional standing ovation at Wells Fargo Center.

It was a year of change. Dave Hakstol became the new head coach, with no NHL experience, and did a fine job making the transition. To Philadelphia fans, he will be the coach of the year for instilling a sense of accountability, work ethic and making believers out of the players in a new system.

The founder of the Flyers, Ed Snider, passed away right at the playoff crunch and threw Philadelphia for an emotional loop, but the Flyers persisted, just as he would have wanted them to.

The players never gave up. It was so obvious that they were exhausted, so physically and mentally spent, in the last few games. If anyone was watching Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Jake Voracek, they were winded, possibly playing hurt. Giroux never gasped for breath so hard.

Simmonds was playing with his heart in the final weeks and it seemed to finally give out in the playoffs. Brayden Schenn may not be in one piece after the way the Capitals targeted him and bounced him around. If you looked up the definition of determination in a dictionary, you would see Ryan White's picture.

All of the team played this way. They cannot be discredited.

Ed Snider would have been proud of the way his team played. Remember, this is a team that wasn’t truly playoff ready. It was to be a year of rebuilding, that dreaded word in Philadelphia sports. For once, a rebuilding year had some prospects of a bright future.

Think of the way these players have a camaraderie. They play as a passionate team, they support each other. It was an electrifying season of hockey. They should hold their heads up high.  

And so, with that thought, think of next October. With the turn of events this year that lead Philadelphia to the playoffs imagine what the future holds.

Look forward to Shayne Gostisbehere evolving into a name for this organization. Look forward to Michal Neuvirth in the net. Look forward to the prospects who are developing into NHL players. Look forward to Dave Hakstol and the experience he and the rest of the young players on this team had this season. 

There's always next year, and even though it's a tired line, maybe next year holds something way better than just a playoff appearance.

Denise Mroz is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow her on Twitter @denisemroz10.

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