If the first few practices are an indicator, new Flyers coach Peter Laviolette will be more of a taskmaster than his predecessor, John Stevens.
Laviolette, partly as punishment for the Flyers' nine penalties in a 6-2 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday, had his players doing extra skating drills during yesterday's grueling practice in Voorhees.
The coach wants the players to be accountable for their actions.
"I think it's important that we're in check with our game," Laviolette said. "I think there's a lot that goes into accountability; there's your system, there's your life, there's penalties. Everything. There's a lot of things that go into it and a lot of things you need to do to be successful. It got away from us in the second period [Tuesday]. The guys know they have to stay out of the box."
On Tuesday, the Flyers allowed two power-play scores that Laviolette called a "couple of bad bounces on backdoor goals - a fluke redirect and a rebound - and they're tough to stop."
Still, Laviolette wasn't happy with the team's nine penalties, including five in the second period. In Laviolette's three games, the Flyers have allowed seven power-play goals in 17 chances.
The Flyers entered last night having fallen into a tie for 24th on the penalty kill, successfully killing 77.8 percent of their infractions.
The Flyers' penalty kill, which was solid early in the season, has slipped because of goalie Ray Emery's injury-related slump and the absence of Blair Betts. Betts is sidelined for the second time this season with a dislocated right shoulder.
The veteran center hopes to play "within a couple of weeks" and says he "pretty much has all the strength back" in his shoulder. He is wearing a protective brace that prevents him from raising the shoulder and, he hopes, reinjuring it.
"As long as I keep my arm down, I'm OK," he said.
The Flyers are 10-3 with Betts in the lineup, 4-10-1 without him.
The shoulder was strong enough yesterday that Betts was able to uncork a shot that shattered the glass behind one of the nets, forcing the Flyers to move to another rink in their practice arena.
Brian Boucher will make his third consecutive start tonight against visiting Ottawa. With Emery out, Boucher is the No. 1 goalie.
"Life's about opportunity, and he's got a pretty good one right now," Laviolette said.
Breakaways. The Flyers said that Emery's abdominal surgery was successful, and that the timetable for his return had not changed. He is expected to miss six weeks. . . . Winger Simon Gagne, sidelined after hernia and abdominal surgery, took part in contact drills and hopes to return to the lineup next week. . . . Defenseman Matt Carle, who had led the NHL in plus-minus differential for most of the season, has slipped into a tie for No. 5 at plus-13. . . . Winger James van Riemsdyk began last night tied for No. 2 among rookie scorers with 19 points - five behind the Islanders' John Tavares. . . . Entering last night, the Flyers' power play was tied for third in the NHL, converting on 23.4 percent of its chances. . . . Jeff Carter was second in the league with 124 shots, one behind New Jersey's Zach Parise going into last night.
The Flyers have switched their home game-day morning skates to the Skate Zone in Voorhees; they had moved them to the Wachovia Center last season because Stevens wanted the players feeling comfortable with bounces off the boards. "I just think it's convenient here," Laviolette said. "I think they know their boards and their bounces. For now, we'll stay here."