For most of this season, the Flyers had relatively good luck with injuries. The number of AHLers who have had to play has been minimal, and the team's core players (except Ray Emery and Simon Gagne) missed very little action.
But now, in the most important part of the season, it all goes to hell.
As if one feel-good-story goaltender out for the season wasn't enough, Michael Leighton joined Ray Emery on the shelf for the remainder of the season. And yesterday, with no warning whatsoever, it was announced that Jeff Carter is expected to miss close to a month of play with a foot injury, one that will keep him out well into the first round of the playoffs.
In summary, the Flyers have lost their the top scorer and top two goaltenders. Never a good thing.
But by the numbers, things don't look nearly so bleak. The Flyers are currently in sixth place, and hold a four point lead over ninth-place Atlanta. According to the math, there's still a 96% chance the Flyers will make the playoffs, but with recent developments in mind it sure doesn't feel like such a sure bet right now.
We as Flyers fans aren't particularly used to being on the playoff bubble, with the 2007-08 season being the only season since 1988-89 or so in which the Flyers making the playoffs was up in the air with so few games left. Either they were way in, or way out.
In the face of such uncertainty, there can be a tendency to panic, a temptation to throw it all away. Beat writer Anthony San Filippo generated buzz recently when he asked via Twitter if Flyers fans still wanted their team to make the playoffs, a question which under almost any circumstances would be a complete no-brainer to answer in the affirmative.
But is this organization, with it's constant short-sighted drive for success, better served by failure? Remember, arguably the best moves the Flyers made as an organization in the last couple decades came during the summer of 2007, after the Flyers missed the playoffs for the first time in twelve seasons. They responded the next year with a run to the conference finals, beating two division champions in the process.
Personally, I want no part of missing the playoffs. I live in a city whose team was mired in terribleness for a decade before they became any good, and I personally want no part of any extended rebuilding. As a Flyers fan I've been spoiled by the consistency the organization's "win now at any cost" outlook has provided. Hope and dreams of going all the way are there to be had most every spring, and it's not something I want to skip this year. I wouldn't bet on the Flyers winning much in the playoffs if they make it, but I know for sure that I'd prefer that to them being left out of the show all together.
But that's just me, and my way of looking at the world. What do you think? Hash it out in the poll and comments below.