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Hextall challenges Flyers to be more accountable

by Mike G. Morreale / NHL.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall would like to see more accountability from his team than he's witnessed in recent weeks.

"Accountability is something that has to become a staple around here," Hextall said following the Flyers' morning skate at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.

The Flyers (5-7-3), who have lost seven of the past eight games while being outscored 16-9 at even strength, face the Washington Capitals (7 p.m. ET, CSN-PH, CSN-DC).

"Accountability is demanded of each other, it's demanded of yourself," Hextall said. "There are nights where it's hard to go out there and play because you don't feel good, you've been traveling, you're tired. You know what, that's too bad. You have to go out there and you have to play your [butt] off."

After opening the season with some optimism behind a 4-2-1 start, the Flyers have struggled to find consistency. They've lost all nine games after allowing the first goal and have one power-play goal in the past nine games.

"We've played 15 games and that's a decent sample size and it's not enough [offensively]," Hextall said. "If you were to tell me our power play would be where it is [26th in the League], I would say no. Based on performance I'm not surprised, but based on personnel we certainly shouldn't be that low."

Hextall said he had no issue with coach Dave Hakstol putting the players through a rigorous 45-minute practice that included many 1-on-1, and 2-on-2 drills at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., on Wednesday.

"I think he's showing expectations," Hextall said. "Those are the expectations. I thought it was fair and necessary."

Hextall was asked if the recent struggles have him considering a possible trade.

"I'm not going to tell you all what goes through my head (when we struggle)," Hextall said. "You're always going to have ups and downs during the season but this one is a little too far down for me. We've got to be a team that gains consistency. That's a huge part of having good years; a lot of teams have peaks and valleys and they have good parts to their season. I think when you look at us, we have to have a little more balance as a group. We can't have such big swings in our performance."

Hextall said that although players go through ups and downs, it has been tough to figure why forward Jakub Voracek has been held without a goal in 15 games.

"I think the frustration level and I think he's pressing, that's the biggest thing," he said. "I think there's no point where I think anyone is questioning Jake's effort or his preparation for a game. He's going through a rough time, and because he cares so much, he's his own worst enemy.

"He's got to get through it. You're going to have your downs in the season but they can't be this long and it's an area where he has to get better."

Hextall believes the Flyers have the talent to challenge for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We can make the playoffs, absolutely," he said. "We have enough talent, enough depth, and enough top-end players to make the playoffs."

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