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Letters To Lavi - PART 3

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
Earlier this summer Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette answered fans questions. After the Draft, Free Agency and some big Flyers trades, Lavi’s back for more and takes the time to answer your questions…


Q: Do you get nervous before games, and if so what do you do to relax?

“More than anything I think I get anxious for the game to happen. You wait for a game, you prepare for a game and right before you go out on the ice the players are getting ready and that’s when you get a little anxious, but I don’t really get nervous. Once the game gets going you’re busy thinking about what you have to do so you don’t really get nervous or anxious at that point because you’re thinking about what you need to do.”

Q: Which players do you expect to become the new leaders, with or without the “C” or “A”, with the departing of old leaders?

“I still think there’s a lot of leadership in the room. Chris Pronger and Kimmo [Timonen] both wore “A’s”, Danny Briere has been a captain on his teams in the past and certainly some of the young players coming up will be counted on for more of a leadership role such as Claude Giroux, Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn - the guys that are 25-26 years old now and have played a long time in the League. Their leadership comes more into play. You hear a lot of things about Max Talbot and how he’s a terrific leader so I think we have lots of good choices for Captains and Assistant Captains and plenty of leadership in the room.”

Q: Dear Mr. Laviolette, I have been a Flyers fan all my life, my question to you is what is the best Flyers game you have coached and why?

“Obviously you go back to the playoffs against Boston when we came back from being three games down. That doesn’t happen very much in history, but I think the best game that I’ve been apart of with the Flyers was Game #82 against the Rangers in order to get into the playoffs because there was so much pressure on the players on both sides. It was really a pressure packed game and I think it really showed how intense a game can be when the whole season is riding on one game and it comes down to a shootout. To be able to win a game like that and go on to playoffs was probably one of the best games to be involved on with the Flyers.”

Q: Hey coach, first off great job in what you’ve done since you have been in Philly, my question is how well do you think the team chemistry will be this season, especially at the start with a brand new goalie, losing two of your most prized franchise players. Any worries that chemistry might be lost which might lead to a rocky start?

“There’s no guarantees that a team that’s been together for four years is going to have good chemistry at the start of the year. I think every season is different and you have to work to build good chemistry. You have to get to know your teammates and do a lot of team building. Certainly this year with a lot of change and turnover we’re going to look to put more things in place. We’ll put the players together on the ice as well as off-the-ice so that they can continue to build, but just because there’s change within an organization, or no change for that matter, doesn’t guarantee that there will or won’t be chemistry. I think those take place from season to season.”

Q: How do you gauge the team's intensity from game to game and how do you get their level raised?

“I think that’s one of the biggest challenges of coaching. It’s making sure that players are ready to play and that their intense and motivated in what they have to do. Without a high intensity level you probably won’t be that successful. I think some games it’s built in and the players are fired up and ready to play on their own, but there are games that you can see on the calendar that you might want to put an asterisk on it so you’re working to make sure that they’re ready.”

Q: What do you expect of the young inexperienced newcomers this season, specifically in Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn

“Well with regards to Sean and Brayden, I think it will be an opportunity to come into training camp to show what they can do and what they’re capable of. Certainly they’re both top rated players in our organization. They’re both high draft picks. I do think that there will be an expectation as they move forward in their careers to come in and show what they can do, but we’re not counting on these guys to come in a move mountains. We don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on them when we don’t need to, especially when we already have Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, Danny Briere and others in place. These guys need to come in and have a good training camp and show what they can do without putting too much pressure on themselves.”

Q: What do you feel will be the biggest adjustment or area of improvement for the new/young forwards this season? Also, from what you know of the new players, who do you think is ready to make an immediate impact?

“One of the biggest adjustments, which isn’t really an adjustment, is getting everybody on the same page on the identity in which you want your team to play. When there’s a large turnover I think that’s a good challenge for us early on to use training camp to our advantage and make sure the players are ready to play when the regular season starts There aren’t a lot of questions as to what we’re trying to do out there, so there’s a lot of work that has to be done in training camp to get ready for the start of the season.

“With regard to the new players and even the players that have been here and are still young… James van Riemsdyk really scratched the surface in the playoffs. I know he’s not a new player, but it would be exciting to watch him develop this year. Brayden Schenn, there’s been a lot of good talk about his expectations and how he can play the game. I think these things usually work themselves out in training camp and like I said, players will get plenty of opportunity to show what they can do and to try and make an impression from the start of camp.”
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