Richards holds team meeting after Canucks shut out Flyers
MIKE RICHARDS is not normally a vocal leader. Last night, he made an exception. Frustrated with his team's sixth loss in seven games - this time, at the hands of the visiting Vancouver Canucks - Richards didn't hold back.
MIKE RICHARDS is not normally a vocal leader.
Last night, he made an exception. Frustrated with his team's sixth loss in seven games - this time, at the hands of the visiting Vancouver Canucks - Richards didn't hold back.
The Flyers' captain wouldn't reveal what was said behind closed doors after a 10-minute team meeting held minutes after Vancouver handed them a 3-0 loss.
"I don't think I called [the meeting]," Richards said. "It was just kind of something that happened. Everyone was in the room. It was a good time to get things off your chest. Not just myself, everyone in the locker room."
With an Islanders win, the Flyers are now tied for 10th place in the Eastern Conference - the farthest they have fallen in the standings since November 2008.
Undoubtedly, part of the discussion in the bowels of the Wachovia Center focused on the team's scoring woes. Once the league's most potent offense, scoring at a 3.6 goals-per-game clip, the Flyers have gone eight consecutive periods without a goal.
Last night marked the first time they have been shut out in back-to-back games since Minnesota built a brick wall in front of their net on Feb. 10-12, 2003.
"You're not going to win too many games scoring zero goals," Chris Pronger said. "It's frustrating. It's disappointing. We're shooting ourselves in the foot."
Even though the Flyers outshot Vancouver, 38-29, many shots were from the periphery. Coach John Stevens seemed to be satisfied with the number of opportunities.
"We're getting chances, we're not finishing," Stevens said. "Pucks aren't getting to the net or in the net. We're not scoring goals right now. We need to find ways to score."
The problem, though, lies not within the number of opportunities. It's quality, not quantity, that counts. They haven't scored the down-and-dirty goals that previously were their signature.
"We create chances but it just seems that we're not at the net," Danny Briere said. "There are a lot of loose pucks again right around the net. We have to get closer to the net and we have to create or be there for the chances we create. We're always a step behind, or a defenseman gets a body or a stick on us."
For proof, ask Roberto Luongo. Even though the Canucks' All-Star netminder stopped all 38 shots, the Flyers made it an easy night for him.
"They threw a lot at the net and I was able to see most of them," Luongo said.
Pronger isn't waiting for the highlight-reel goal to spark the team.
"It's going to take three guys around the net bouncing it off somebody's [butt] or somebody's shinpad," Pronger explained. "It's not going to be the tic-tac-toe, tap-in backdoor goal that reignites us."
Briere said the Flyers have no excuses for shying away from the danger zone in between the faceoff circles. Known as a gritty team in all areas away from the opponent's offensive zone, the Flyers have seven forwards who are taller than 6-foot.
"We have a pretty big team - big bodies up front," Briere said. "I just think we're not using that to our advantage."
Vancouver's goals were a perfect contrast to the Flyers' lack of a net presence. Tanner Glass bowled over Brian Boucher on a take to the net in the second period and Willie Mitchell put in his rebound. Not even 4 minutes later, Alexandre Burrows redirected a puck into the net.
The frustration began to spill over onto the ice.
Briere received a double-minor for spearing in the second period and nearly fought Mikael Samuelsson. In the same scrum, Pronger dropped his gloves for the first time in a Flyers uniform - but it left them without their top defenseman for nearly the first 5 minutes of the third period.
But when the Flyers needed that boil to roll into goals, trailing 2-0 in the third period, they cooled off. They had a power play with just 10 minutes to go and managed five shots on Luongo.
Three of those shots came from the point - Pronger had two and Matt Carle had one - not areas of high shooting percentage. That was the second power play the Flyers squandered in that period.
Kimmo Timonen took a penalty with 8 minutes left and Christian Ehrhoff beat Boucher with 3:19 remaining, sealing the Flyers' ugly fate as they skated off to boos for the first time all season.
"You can't just flip the switch and play a perfect hockey game," Richards said. "It's the little things that are going to get you goals. You have to fight for everything that you get. Right now, we're not fighting.
"It almost seems like we're waiting for it to happen."
After the game, Kimmo Timonen revealed that he broke his toe four games ago against the Islanders. He has been limping for a few days. Timonen would not say which foot . . . Mike Richards got crushed in his second-period fight with Kevin Bieksa . . . The power play was 0-for-5 . . . Last night was the Flyers' first loss to Vancouver since Dec. 15, 2005.
For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at