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The Jets easily handled the even more lethargic Flyers than usual on Wednesday. (The Canadian Press/John Woods)

Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR4) Gm 81: PHI 0, WPG 4 – Dubious

The Jets easily handled the even more lethargic Flyers than usual on Thursday. (The Canadian Press/John Woods)

Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR4) Gm 81: PHI 0, WPG 4 – Dubious

No more road woes after tonight. The Philadelphia Flyers lose, 4-0, to the Winnipeg Jets, in their final game away from the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers struggled to generate chances early or often against Winnipeg’s backup Eric Comrie. The Jets took the lead 5:23 in on a PPG by Pierre-Luc Dubois and never looked back. “You could tell we didn’t have our jump tonight,” Mike Yeo said after the team’s latest defeat.

Of course, the most notable thing about this game is that it’s the penultimate one of this twisted, messed up Flyers season. And therefore the penultimate Flyers Fan Reaction of the 2021-22 season, the fourth year I’ve done this series. Just about the only thing that went right with the Flyers this year was that I’ve kept this series, and the 304 game streak that comes with it, alive.

I want to save the final FFR of the season for a look back on the 2021-22 Flyers season, and what lies ahead for the franchise. So tonight seems like the perfect opportunity to look back on FFR as a whole, especially the 2021-22 edition of it. This year feels like a turning point for the series, and not just because of the sharp turn the Flyers’ direction has taken from where it was when I started at Vendetta in Oct. 2020. It mostly has to do with the 7th-Day Stretch series I started to “cover” the 2021 Phillies (and am continuing this season), taking up a much more professional style than ever before.

I started the year mostly doing the same thing I had for FFRs, ranting and going through games goal-by-goal, highlighting big moments along the way with some big picture stuff near the end. Even before the season went off the rails, though, I could feel myself starting to pivot. Maybe that’s what I meant by stating I felt a “new era” had begun after Philadelphia’s first game of the season. I enjoyed trying to take a bit more of an objective, measured approach towards my “coverage.” This became all but necessary for me to power through the final 68 games of the season, including tonight’s and Friday’s. The Flyers have lost 49 of those games, and many in incredible lethargic fashion.

So instead of ranting, I started looking for new angles. I wrote the closest things to “features” that I have ever done, at least outside of some of the articles I have written for Notre Dame’s student newspaper (that’s where I go to college). I crafted a nice piece tying together Keith Yandle’s record-breaking iron-man streak with the Flyers’ franchise record-breaking 13th straight loss. Same for the final Keystone State clash between Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux. One of the longest FFR’s I’ve ever written was for Giroux’s final game as a Flyer; it clocked in at over 3,500 words. Sometimes I can get a bit rambly in these. But I’ve read that one back a lot, and every word feels necessary. I genuinely feel like most of my top 5 FFRs ever have probably come from this season.

But that doesn’t mean it’s been a perfect year for this series. Far from it. After the deadline hit, finding angles to write meaningful articles became incredibly challenging. I told friends that writing about a bad team forces one to become a better writer, and I do believe that… for a while. There’s only so much you can write about a team with as dismal a present and murky a feature as the Flyers. It’s really showed in the last 10 games or so. I’ve checked it at under 1,000 words on a few articles, the first time that’s happened since FFR1. If ever. This barely cleared that bar, but I apologize for all the ones that didn’t, because there is a lot more to write about that what I can/have.

Some of them have provided little to no analysis. Some even focused more on other things than the game at hand. And not in as positive or detailed of a way as some of the “features” I mentioned above. I recognize part of that is just to circumstances. This has easily been my busiest semester at school, and Vendetta isn’t first on priority list. I’d like it to be, but it can’t always be that way. It won’t be that way for the next week, as I prepare for finals; one on Monday, two exams plus a project on Wednesday. It will likely lead to the longest delay between a game and the FFR ever; I don’t anticipate writing the FFR for game No. 82 until I finish school, so next Thursday at the earliest.

Part of that is I want to get it right. Part of it is I simply don’t have the time. I’ll still be writing playoff series previews and a 7th-Day Stretch article should be out Sunday or Monday. But I still feel bad about it, even though I’m aware these articles don’t exactly rack up the views. At least I don’t think.

We’ve come a long way, folks.

It’s been a very tiring semester and Flyers season for me. I can’t imagine how tired the players, coaches, management, and organization is. The fact that it’s ending on Friday is both a relief and a massive disappointment. I’ve tried my best to make sure this series at least has not been. And while I haven’t been perfect, I at least like to think that’s been the case for most of this season. Hopefully the Flyers can say the same (and better) about next season.

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