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Slow-starting Flyers seeking remedy
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There were a lot of grim faces on the Flyers this past weekend in Montreal and Carolina after back-to-back losses.
In hockey, it’s not necessarily about the losses themselves but more about the way a team loses -- how it looks on the ice matters.
And that’s why Peter Laviolette was fired on Monday (see story). The on-ice product looked bad in training camp and wasn’t looking that much better three games into the season.
General manager Paul Holmgren brought the players into the Wells Fargo Center on Monday for a team meeting even though it was their off-day.
He did not allow any general media access to players after the meeting.
However, on Sunday night after a 2-1 loss to the Hurricanes, the Flyers talked about things gone wrong this season.
Twice in three games the Flyers had poor starts for a team that just began its season, including the Carolina game.
“They came out hard and they seemed quicker than us in the first period,” Vinny Lecavalier said after the loss. “I thought after that, in the second, we had a lot of opportunities, skating hard, playing hard. But it’s hard winning hockey games when you score one goal.”
The Flyers have just one goal in each of their three losses which is why they are 0-3.
“It’s not where we want to be, but if you look at the Toronto game, I thought we should have won,” Lecavalier said. “In Montreal, we played some good hockey. It could have gone our way but it was undisciplined a little bit.
“We fall behind. In the NHL there are a lot of tight games and that is where you need to overcome that and maybe not squeeze our sticks so much in front of the net. It’s definitely not the lack of effort.”
Under Craig Berube, the Flyers will go back into a more defensive mode where they will limit the risk of attack (see story).
That said, he will ask them to be more aggressive in going to the net with the puck instead of shooting from afar, then going for a rebound.
Lecavalier, who was brought in to replace Danny Briere and help generate lost offense, said the team needs two men on the puck going hard to the net more than it has so far.
“Definitely, two guys on that puck and bringing that puck to the net as much as you can,” he said. “When there are shots from the defense, make sure we have a screen. If the goalie sees everything, it’s a little tougher to score. Just little things we need to do more of.”
Team captain Claude Giroux said the team was uptight with its start. Now that Laviolette has been fired, they may very well become even tighter because the next moves will involve trading players.
Giroux said players were frustrated to the point in which they were making mistakes offensively by trying to do too much.
“Less is more,” he said. “We need to breath a little. We’re going to turn it around. There is no doubt in my mind.”