VOORHEES, N.J. – When you are a 1-7-0 hockey team there are two ways you can go.
You can either recommit yourself to turn things around and try to get back on the winning track.
Or you can… um…
Well, let’s not think about that other way.
So far for the Flyers, four days removed from their latest loss and still three days away from their next game, it’s a good thing the Flyers are approaching things more toward the first way than toward the second.
And they’re doing it in a variety of ways. They’re doing it by trying to build confidence. They’re doing it through self-deprecating humor.
And they’re doing it through bold predictions.
“When you have the record we have right now, you’re a little frustrated and you try to figure out what’s going on but everybody came to the rink and we know there’s a lot of hockey left to play here,” said captain Claude Giroux. “We’re not far at all. How many points are we off, six? To think that with the start we had, we’re that close. We’ve never thought that we’re not going to make the playoffs.
“We’ll take it here game-by-game and we will make the playoffs.”
|Claude Giroux said the Flyers will still make the playoffs this year. |
Did you hear that? The Flyers will make the playoffs.
And whether it ends up being a peerless prognostication that becomes a reality, or just another missed projection, it’s at least a sign that things aren’t as doom and gloom as you would think in that locker room.
And coach Craig Berube isn’t letting it get that way. As a matter of fact, he feels a lot of the need to build confidence can be accomplished during this perfectly-timed six day break.
It started with two days off the ice, including a nearly full-team tailgate and field trip to the Eagles game Sunday.
It was followed with an incredibly hard-skating practice Monday and will continue with three more practices this week.
“It came at the right time,” Berube said of the break. “We can regroup here, get our feet under us and go to work Thursday. Basically we can look at one game at a time. Don’t look ahead, don’t look back anymore, just focus on the Rangers, that’s it.”
And the hard skating?
“It goes back to doing things fast and getting your feet moving,” Berube said. “We want to become a faster hockey team and to do that you have to work at it in practice. It has to become natural to do things quickly and get your feet moving. That’s what we’re trying to do out there.
“If you do things quicker you’re going to be faster. It’s just having the confidence to do things faster than the way we are. Not everyone has great wheels, but the puck moves faster than everybody, right? This [the mind] has to be quicker. If you think quick out there and it becomes natural out there you’ll do things quicker and you’ll look like a faster team.”
Sounds like a simple enough formula. And the guys are buying in. Namely Jake Voracek, who, like Giroux has yet to score a goal in eight games, but who, at the same time believe that they can break out of their doldrums.
“The week off is going to help us to put more practice in and get the work done and be ready to play Thursday,” Voracek said. “It won’t hurt. When we have a week like this where you are skating – a bag skate like Chief [did today] then that’s what you have to do. The NHL is a very fast game today an you need to keep up or you are going to lose games. Skating a lot in practices is a good thing and is only going to help us.”
So will not taking things too seriously from time to time, even when things aren’t going well for the team.
|Jake Voracek is taking a more light-hearted approach to correcting what ails the Flyers. |
“It’s pretty funny to me when [someone] said [on Twitter] ‘The Eagles know the Flyers are at the game, that’s why they don’t score,’” Voracek said. “It’s pretty sad at the time but you have to laugh at it because we know we’re 1-7 and we’ve only scored 11 goals and that’s not good enough. But we know we have good group of players and that the odds to break for us eventually.”
Voracek even took it a step farther and criticized himself. When asked if he was fully recovered from a preseason somewhere-on-the-body injury, Voracek said he had.
“I feel like a 10,” he said. “I don’t play like a 10 but I feel like a 10. If you don’t score, that’s what happens. No matter how good you are. If you don’t score, miss an open net hit a couple posts and then lose three or four games in a row it’s going to drag you down.
“But good teams dig out of little holes and that’s what we have to do. The hockey we are playing is not that bad, but the record is showing (otherwise).”
In three more days, we’ll see if this more relaxed attitude pays off.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37