Why do 'relentless' Flyers relent so often?
BOSTON - The Flyers are making a mockery of their slogan: Relentless. Relentless? When the Flyers fall behind - and that's happened a lot lately - they crawl into a shell and show little life.
BOSTON - The Flyers are making a mockery of their slogan: Relentless.
When the Flyers fall behind - and that's happened a lot lately - they crawl into a shell and show little life.
In their 30 games, the Flyers have overcome a deficit and won four times. Four.
The lack of resiliency - and scoring - explains why only Carolina has fewer points in the 30-team NHL.
When the Flyers fall behind, they stay behind. That shows a lack of confidence, leadership and firepower.
"When you don't score goals, it's tough to catch up from behind," winger Ian Laperriere said. "Maybe we're squeezing the sticks a little bit too much."
He meant that the Flyers were pressing.
"We're on our heels," forward Claude Giroux said. "We've got to go back to simple plays. Work hard and win some battles."
The Flyers have lost seven out of their last eight games, during which they have managed a total of six goals in their seven defeats, including Saturday's 4-1 loss in New Jersey. Defenseman Braydon Coburn was in a walking boot yesterday, so he probably won't play tonight against Boston.
"We got embarrassed," frustrated new coach Peter Laviolette said of the latest loss. "It should've been a little tough to sleep for everybody. Really. It's hard to walk out of that game with a fluffy feeling. Everyone should be a little ticked off and upset.
"Now it's what do you take from it, what do you learn from it? What do you put forward in the next game? Everybody's got to dig a little deeper. We had one person who played a pretty decent game - that was it. That can't happen."
Defenseman Chris Pronger said the Flyers need to "pick one another up and start acting as a team. . .. Good teams play as a team. There's six individuals on the ice; they have to play as a group, they have to play as a unit - including the goaltender, whether it be exchanges with the defensemen, the goalie playing the puck.
"It takes all five players and the goaltender to execute to be effective, and right now we're not," Pronger said.
"We want to skate it up by ourselves, we want to make a long, long pass. Which in turn creates turnovers, or not getting the right forecheck. All the little things that start creeping in when we seem to get down."
Pronger was acquired to give the Flyers some much-needed physicality on the blue line. Surprisingly, that hasn't happened too often.
Instead, the Flyers have played without a sense of purpose and have not established an identity.
They have not been explosive, not been physical, not been defensively responsible.
Some misdirected physicality has shown up in senseless penalties. Entering last night, the Flyers led the league with 17.8 penalty minutes per game, and they were 25th out of 30 teams with a 78.3 percent rate on the penalty kill.
Captain Mike Richards agreed with Pronger, saying the Flyers are playing individually and not as a team.
"We have to stop looking at other people and hold yourself accountable and prepare for hockey games," he said. "We need a better effort from just about everyone."
Said Laviolette: "We're trying to take new things and make them comfortable and compete. If you take the compete out, it doesn't matter what you do. You'll lose."
Breakaways. Coburn, who has struggled recently, was wearing a walking boot on his right foot to protect an ankle injury suffered Saturday in New Jersey. General manager Paul Holmgren said Coburn was day to day. Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, who hasn't played since Nov. 7, will replace Coburn tonight. He gives the Flyers a physical presence.
There's a chance center Blair Betts (dislocated shoulder) will return to the lineup Thursday against visiting Pittsburgh. The Flyers are 10-3 with Betts in the lineup, 4-12-1 without him. . .. Laviolette said he is "not looking for a trade. I'm looking for our guys to dig in. No one's going to feel sorry for us. We're in charge of what we do on the ice" tonight against Boston.