Maybe it was karma, but just not the good kind.
The Philadelphia Flyers intentionally violated the terms of the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement when they traveled to Nashville on Dec. 26 for their game the next night.
The CBA states that players must be off from team activities from Dec. 24-26, which includes flights.
General manager Ron Hextall admitted that the players approached him about leaving the night before – instead of say, just after midnight – in order to arrive in Nashville early and get enough rest prior to facing the Predators.
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It didn’t matter, though, as the NHL still fined the Flyers an undisclosed amount of dough.
The whole situation may have messed with any good karma the club had built before Christmas. What had started off as a promising eight-game road trip instantly disintegrated into a nightmare by the time it ended.
The Flyers opened the 18-day trek with impressive wins over Toronto, Winnipeg and Minnesota. However after travelgate they lost five straight, including to three teams below them in the standings at the time, and lost Claude Giroux for the final four periods of the trip.
The captain was cut by a skate early in the third period of an ugly loss to the Hurricanes on Friday and was held out of the lineup in Saturday’s finale against the Devils, which turned into a disaster.
Jaromir Jagr became the oldest player in NHL history to record a hat trick as N.J. jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second period en route to a 5-2 rout.
Outside of Giroux escaping serious injury – he is probable for tonight’s game against the Senators – it was a horrific final nine days on the road.
With the CBA violation story exposed over the weekend and the fine levied, the Flyers can only hope they have turned the corner and find some good karma again. They sit 10 points out of a playoff berth but play 10 of their next 13 games at the Wells Fargo Center, where they are 8-5-3.
It’s a stretch of games that very well could define the rest of their season.
They can make up some ground in the standings and re-enter the playoff picture or fail to gain key points and possibly fall completely out of it.