VOORHEES, N.J. — It’s time for Scott Gordon and the Flyers to cash that reality check.
There will be no Stanley Cup Playoffs in Philadelphia this season. After Tuesday night’s loss to Montreal, those who calculate the odds now put the Flyers’ chances at less than one percent.
If the Blue Jackets stay on their current pace of 94 points, the Flyers would need to earn 17 of a possible 18 points in their final nine games to overtake Columbus in the standings.
Still, it’s not enough for Gordon to think about next season, considering the coach himself may not be here next season either.
“We’re in the same shoes that we’re in yesterday,” Gordon said Wednesday. “Nothing’s changed as far as the ladder we have to climb here. We’re six points behind going into it and we’re still six points behind. Is it possible that Columbus can go on a three-game losing streak and we go on a three-game winning streak? I think that’s very possible. So, until that element changes, it will be status quo.”
Of course, it’s not just the Blue Jackets the Flyers have to catch, but also the Canadiens, who increased the margin over the Flyers to five points.
Even if the Flyers fail to gain or even lose any ground in the standings, they won’t “officially” be eliminated until the first week of April.
In other words, don’t expect to see Samuel Morin suit up in Chicago or possibly anytime soon, and for those who are forecasting what this team could look like come next season, there’s a degree of frustration attached to that.
“Honestly, I’d love to play all of these games if it was me,” Morin said. “We’ll see what happens but, obviously, if we’re still in the playoff position I don’t think I’m going to get in. It’s just the way it is right now for me. I just can’t really do anything about it, right?”
Morin is playing out the first year of a three-year extension he signed last summer and is one of five defensemen under contract for next season. However, since Morin is no longer waiver exempt, he can’t be shuffled between the Phantoms and Flyers without passing through waivers. With just three NHL games under his belt, the 6-foot-7 defenseman needs all the experience he can get moving forward.
“I’ve been doing this since training camp to be honest with you,” Morin said. “I know a lot of guys could not do this and keep a good mindset. It’s pretty hard watching all of hockey and not playing.”
Same can be said for pending free-agent goaltender Cam Talbot, who the Flyers acquired in a trade for Anthony Stolarz on Feb. 16. Talbot appears to be the perfect complement to Carter Hart heading into next season, but he has no indication that’s the case.
There have been no preliminary discussions regarding a new contract even as he’s moved his family into Dale Weise’s South Jersey home on a temporary basis until he knows what the future holds.
Visa issues held up some prime opportunities for Talbot in late February, which in turn, has limited him to just 93 minutes of action since the trade. Eventually, the Flyers need to make a determination regarding a solid, competent backup to Hart.
However, I don’t think Talbot would have waived his no-trade clause if he could have foreseen the current situation.
And the longer it drags out, the more frustrations will amplify for those who are already looking ahead to 2019-20.
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