Flyers drop from trendy East favorite to another lost season

Flyers drop from trendy East favorite to another lost season
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Alain Vigneault met with Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher after the team was eliminated from the playoff race and was blunt on his self-evaluation.

“I sort of felt like I’ve let everyone down here, from him to ownership to our fans to our players,” Vigneault said.

Vigneault’s second season on the bench opened with so much promise coming off a successful debut that included a playoff series victory for the first time since 2012.

What the Flyers (25-23-8; 58 points) suffered through instead was, in many ways — thanks to big expectations — a season that ended with disillusionment.

It still ended like so many of the rest: Without a sip out of the Stanley Cup. The Flyers have not won the championship since taking consecutive Cups in 1974 and 1975 and have not played in the Final since 2010.

Vigneault was hired with a championship pedigree, having led the Rangers and Canucks to the Cup Final, but his first two seasons in Philly have been shortened and hampered by the pandemic.

“I’d like to coach the Flyers in a normal year,” Vigneault said Tuesday. “With everything going on in the world, I don’t want to make it sound like I’m complaining because it’s been hard on everyone. I would really enjoy coaching the Flyers in a normal year and in a normal setting.”

There was, of course, nothing normal about this season and the Flyers were no more affected than any other team in the NHL.

Yet, Vigneault and Fletcher indicated the root of their struggles started last offseason when the Canadian players struggled to train at home.

“Those younger players, when the game slips a little bit, were not quite executing the way we need to have success,” Vigneault said.

“You have to practice and we didn’t have any practice time. I’m not saying that’s the reason. A lot of things happened, but I’m going to need some time to reflect on it. But I do think that played a part in our game slipping and our season going the way it did.”
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