Kirk D. - Springfield, PA
Q: Obviously, winning the Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal every year, but do you have any other goals or expectations for this team going into 2012-2013?
PL: “Our goal is to be a successful team and yes, you're right, ultimate success is based on championships. This is something we will continue to strive for and we are looking forward to the upcoming season. That being said, we want to make sure we have a successful regular season and we want to continue to play an exciting brand of hockey and continue the development of our young players. By doing this we see a foundation being built to help us achieve the ultimate goal which is a championship.”
Chris D., Philadelphia, PA
Q: How do you keep your players motivated over an 82-game schedule?
PL: “Motivation is always a key to being successful. Twenty players wanting to run through a wall together becomes a very difficult team to stop. I think there are some games you mark or look at as a coach and reach out to players to make sure a game doesn't get lost.
There are some teams that will bring out the best in you and motivation isn't a problem.
Over the course of a long season you can't lose sight of the fact that every game counts and has value.
If Pittsburgh is on the schedule and then Boston is on the schedule later in the week, you really want to pay attention to the games in the middle, which are just as important.
Our Atlantic Divison rivals bring an added edge, so less focus on motivation and more focus to a different area of detail may be required.
As a coach, you try and find the games that don't make your blood boil and those are the ones you want to make sure the players are motivated and ready for.”
Ryan K., Charlotte, NC
Q: When do you decide that the guys need a time out? You always seem to pull them off at the perfect moment - is it a set process or just a "heat of the moment" reaction?
PL: “Sometimes timeouts are taken because we can't get a change from an icing. Some are taken at the end of the game because your top skilled players may need a break to catch their wind for the final minute. Those TO's are the common ones that don't require much thought.
The other ones that come through the course of the game are to fix something that has gone wrong. The other team is on a roll, or maybe your team has gotten sleepy. Maybe the building and energy has shifted the momentum to the opponent.
Whatever the reason may be, the timeout provides a chance to stop and restart. It’s a break in the action to possibly send the game in a different direction. For me there is one simple rule I live by with regard to a timeout: If you think you need it for your team and your gut is telling you to take it - then take it! If you don't like the way the game is going, then stop it and restart it.”
Paul C., Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada
Q: What was your favorite moment from this year's season?
PL:“I can't recall a moment, but I really enjoyed working with and watching the young players on our team this year.
For instance, Claude Giroux went from a top player on our team to a top player in the league. His skill, leadership and confidence has grown so much from when I first arrived here in December of 2009. But this past year he really established himself as an elite player. We all got a chance to see him develop into the player he is and that is, for me, a great moment.”
Tom W., Troon, Scotland, UK
Q: My name is Tom and I am 14 years old. I play hockey in Scotland and I am a huge Flyers fan. I hope one day to play in the NHL. I notice you have played a few undrafted rookies this season. So in your opinion, what would be the best way to break through to the NHL.
PL: “Great question! Everyone has to start somewhere and prove themselves. I can't give you the direct path because there is no one exact way to get here.
I assume you are playing somewhere now so here are some thoughts.
1. You have to work hard to be a very good player where you are now. You can't cheat the process if you want to be the best, so work hard to excel.
2. Plan your next step. You have to figure your path and how you will move to the next level (Is your next step junior hockey, college hockey, etc.?). If you are able to get to this level then repeat the first step. If you continue to develop and excel at every level, hockey people will start to notice. It is good to dream of playing in the NHL and if that’s what you want then work at it. My one bit of advice is don't judge your success in hockey as to whether or not you make it to the NHL. I have two boys around your age and my hope is that they play college hockey. Remember if they work really hard and they were to excel at the college level...someone will notice. Thanks for being a Flyers fan and best of luck.”
Eric H., Scotch Plains, NJ
Q: What are some of the things that we don’t see on TV that makes Claude Giroux the best player in the world? Thank you for your time and good luck in the offseason.
PL: “I think one of Claude's greatest attributes is his competitiveness. His desire to win and his competitiveness to achieve success are second to none.”
Janis C., Anaheim, CA
Q: What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?
PL: “I hope this doesn't come off sounding bad, but honestly, the biggest surprise of the season was not beating the Rangers in a single game. I think of our team as a strong competitive team and I view the Rangers as the same. If someone would have asked before the year if it would surprise me if we didn't take one game from the Rangers I would have scoffed at them and told them they were crazy. So the fact that the season took place and we were unable win one game in the series...well...I'm surprised.”
Tyler R., United States
Q: Each team has its own "characteristic". In one or two words describe this years team and why?
PL: “YOUTH and EXUBERANCE - They were a very young group that most often played with energy. Their energy was contagious and had an influence on everyone. We had terrific leadership in the room and I really think the combination of good leadership mixed with the youth and exuberance made us a very competitive team.”