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Nothing the Maple Leafs did could surpass the blow the Flyers organization felt on Monday. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR4) Gm 77: PHI 2, TOR 5 – Worse

Nothing the Maple Leafs did could surpass the blow the Flyers organization felt on Monday. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR4) Gm 77: PHI 2, TOR 5 – Worse

The Philadelphia Flyers have been sinking for a while now. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve watched the games or not. If you’ve taken dive deep into the stats or just glanced at the standings. Anyone can tell the 2021-22 Flyers season has been a complete and utter disaster.

Since Nov. 16, the Flyers are just 15-38-9, a league-worst .315 points percentage. For context, that pace would garner just under 52 points across an 82-game pace. And yet that record arguably doesn’t even tell just how slowly the last five months have passed. The Flyers lost 10 straight twice, including a franchise record 13 game skid that left them winless for a month. Philadelphia said goodbye to the longest-tenured captain in team history for an (understandably) weak return.

They suffered the PR hit of ending Keith Yandle’s iron-man streak. They suffered the on-ice hit of playing Keith Yandle. Fans were left to choose between anger over not mentioning late owner Ed Snider on his birthday in January or pure apathy — they chose both. And other than the last few weeks before the All-Star break, they’ve generally been taken apart at 5-on-5. Their power-play is about as potent as the penalty kill of tonight’s opponent. The penalty kill isn’t much better, either.

Their best forward hasn’t played since Dec. 19. (Probably) their best defenseman hasn’t played since Nov. 13. Their second-line center started the year hurt. Then he came back. Then suffered another injury. And came back again. Then suffered another injury, necessitating surgery. And came back again. In one game, they suffered six injuries and lost by seven goals. It’s not just that everything that could have gone wrong has; it’s that everything period has completely fallen apart.

And yet nothing that has happened to the Flyers is as devastating as the news that came out yesterday. Crossing Broad’s Anthony SanFilippo reported that Flyers Director of Medical Services Jim McCrossin and assistant athletic trainer Sal Raffa are suing several divisions of Comcast, including Comcast Spectacor, which owns the Flyers, for being exposed to cancer-causing carcinogens resulting from the Zamboni at the team’s practice facility in Voorhees, New Jersey.

Obviously, this is a horrible situation, no matter how the lawsuit plays out. McCrossin and Raffa are both long time and well-respected members of the Flyers. To see them diagnosed with cancer is incredibly sad. And it’s hard to even find the words to talk about the Flyers potentially being responsible in the lawsuit. It alleges, per the Crossing Broad report, that the Zamboni was located too closely to where McCrossin and Raffa were working, which the report says “lacked the proper drainage system” and “was subject to receiving liquid drainage from the Zamboni room, as well as other various conduits and spaces.”

When the Flyers scratched Yandle a few weeks ago, I wrote about how the organization had made a habit of putting themselves in lose-lose situations. This is just that, and to a much more serious degree, especially seeing as the suit lists both as having contracted “uncurable” types of cancer. While we won’t know the status and responsibility of the Flyers for a while, it’s not hard to predict which side public opinion is swaying towards. As I mentioned, McCrossin and Raffa are both extremely well respected and long-time fixtures of the organization; the duo have over 40 years with the Flyers between them. And the lawsuit makes it challenging for the team to publicly provide support in their battles, which stands in stark contrast to the support Oskar Lindblom received (and is paying back to McCrossin and Raffa) during his fight with Ewing’s Sarcoma.

The last time before tonight the Flyers were in Toronto was a bitter-sweet experience. It, of course, was the host of the first two rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs as a “bubble” in 2020. The Flyers ultimately lost, but it did include some memorable moments — a dominant round-robin performance, their first playoff series win in eight years, a trio of overtime goals, and Lindblom’s emotional return. It was the highest the organization has been since 2012. On Tuesday’s trip, however, they were at an all-time low. And that was before being a far superior Maple Leafs team soundly took them down Tuesday. Oh, and Kevin Connauton got hurt, too.

But again, the outcome or the performance aren’t even close to the most important — or tragic — story surrounding the Flyers right now. Cancer diagnoses and a lawsuit from two beloved members would rock any organization. For the Flyers, it just feels like cruel piling on to a season that has already had more than its fair share of misery. McCrossin and Raffa obviously deserve all of the support in the world. The Flyers, on the other hand, just need all of the help they can get.

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