Flyers make it 40 years without Stanley Cup championship following season without playoffs

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VORHEES, New Jersey — The Flyers hit The Big 4-0 this season.

Just don't expect fans to celebrate during the NHL playoffs with a big bash.

The Philadelphia Flyers marked the milestone of their last Stanley Cup championship in the 1974-75 season by trudging to the finish line without a playoff berth for the second time in three seasons.

This miss could cost coach Craig Berube his job.

Berube could be out after two seasons on the bench, though his fate was still undecided following the Flyers' exit meetings on Monday.

General manager Ron Hextall will make the call soon if Berube has done enough to earn a third season.

His players gave, at best, lukewarm reviews of Berube following a 33-31-18 (84 points) season.

Hextall did not speak to reporters and was not scheduled until later in the week. His common response toward the end of the season on Berube's status was that he would be evaluated like anyone else after the season.

Berube said Monday he had yet to meet with Hextall and was not concerned about the speculation surrounding his future. He also said he was fine meeting with his players during exit meetings.

"It wasn't unsettling, no," he said. "I've got good relationships with all these guys."

Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds bemoaned a lack of leadership in the locker room. Vinny Lecavalier, once one of the best players in the NHL, made it clear he had almost no interest in a third season in Philadelphia if Berube returned.

He scored a career-low eight goals in 57 games and was a healthy scratch for several stretches this season. At 34, Lecavalier said he had plenty left and could still become a valuable contributor to any team.

Well, except the Flyers if Berube is back.

"He's got his views and he showed that," Lecavalier said. "I think 17 or 18 games, I was scratched, so it's going to be tough to change his mind. But we'll see what happens."

Berube said he no longer sees "eye to eye" with Lecavalier and the veteran has not accepted the fact he is no longer a No. 2 center.

"At some point, he's going to have to accept his role," Berube said.

Outside of the coach, what Hextall has to decide this summer is this: With a handful of outstanding performers such as Voracek, fellow All-Star Claude Giroux and goalie Steve Mason, are the Flyers just a few moves away from becoming a contender or does he start from scratch and rebuild?

Mason backed Berube's return. Giroux, the team captain, said those decisions are out of his hands.

"We trust (Hextall) to do his job like he trusts us to do our job," he said.

Voracek and Giroux spent most of the season in the hunt for an NHL scoring title and each finished with some stout stats: Voracek had 22 goals and 81 points (six points behind Dallas' Jamie Benn) and Giroux had 25 goals and 73 points. Wayne Simmonds led the Flyers with 28 goals and Mason's .928 save percentage was second-best in team history and his 2.25 GAA was the lowest for a Flyers goalie since 2003-04. Defenseman Mark Streit had 52 points.

The top talent is in place.

It's depth, chemistry and talent issues around the rest of the lineup and inside the locker room that helped sink the Flyers.

Voracek said the Flyers missed the leadership from veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who never played this season because of blood clots before he was traded to Chicago.

"He always calmed things down," Voracek said. "That's what we're missing. Someone like Kimmo."

Giroux said all players needed to assume that role.

"Maybe I haven't thought about it as much as Jake did," Giroux said.

Giroux is the lone holdover from the 2010 team that lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup final.

The Flyers have not won a Stanley Cup since hoisting two straight in 1974 and 1975. The Flyers have been close — real close to another: Philadelphia lost in the Stanley Cup finals in 1976, 1980, 1985, 1987, 1997 and 2010.

The Flyers have missed the playoffs two times in a three-season span for the first time since they missed it five straight seasons from 1989-1994.

Now, a new coach could steer the Flyers back to the playoffs.

"What bothers me is not making the playoffs," Berube said.

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