On the Ice With Isaac: Flyers Trying to Fix Mistakes
It’s a tough call for a defenseman, especially when the Flyers are trying to focus on team defense.
To pinch or not to pinch?
When a blueliner tries to help the forwards throw pucks on net from deep in the offensive zone, there’s a risk. A forward has to come back and help out so the goalie isn’t being hung out to try.
Against the New Jersey Devils Thursday night, Mark Streit guessed wrong and he wasn’t the only one.
“That’s things you can’t do,” Streit said. “Some nights you pinch and nothing happens. Some nights you pinch and it causes a goal. That goes for the whole team. Those are the little mistakes you can’t make, especially against teams we’re gonna face the next two weeks.”
The Flyers held a team meeting Friday to go over those mistakes in lieu of on-ice practice since they played back-to-back days. Both games were losses and for a third straight season, the Flyers begin the campaign 0-2, although no alarm bells have been set yet.
“It wasn’t one of those meetings,” Streit said. “You look at things. You talk about it. You want to get better. You want to clean things up. You want to move forward. If you win five in a row, sometimes you win hockey games and you don’t even play that well. That’s the way it is.”
It could be easy for the Flyers to allow old tendencies to creep in, to remember last season’s 1-7 start. Craig Berube thinks his team’s physical game is there. It’s the mental one that he thinks needs fixing by doing things like…well…not reading newspapers.
“Seriously,” the coach said. “Play for yourselves in here. That’s it. You guys talk about it and people in general about bad starts all the time. You can’t let it creep into your focus of playing the game. You’re going to think about it. You can’t tell a guy not to think about it, but you can’t get into your focus. You’ve got to focus on playing the game.”
The Flyers did that for part of Thursday’s loss, but made way too many miscues for anyone’s liking.
“It’s the beginning of the season,” right wing Jake Voracek said. “You make mistakes you don’t make in the middle of the season or the end of the season. Tactical mistakes, defensive mistakes when you try to cover for somebody else or try to be somewhere when you’re not supposed to be. It opens up some holes.”
The Flyers will try to plug them Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens, who started their season with a pair of wins.
“We need to win the next game,” goalie Steve Mason said. “The schedule that we have for the next X number of games is against tough teams, teams that are gonna be near the top of the standings this season. It’s a great test for us, a great opportunity for us to beat some tough teams and start putting ourselves in a better position.”