New defense coach Wilson mix of old school and modern approach

VOORHEES – They say Rome wasn’t built in a day and it might take longer than that, too, to rebuild the confidence level of the Flyers’ defense.

But if there’s one individual who can shorten the process, it’s probably the veteran Rick Wilson, hired by the Flyers to be their assistant coach in charge of the ‘D’ corps on Tuesday and seen at his first practice on Wednesday.

Wilson is 68 and his thinking reflects that place in his career.

While computers, analytics and video/optics are a big part of today’s game, Wilson indicates he’s more old school and relies on a feel for the game.

“I love working with the younger coaches,’’ he said when practice ended at the Skate Zone. “They know the new elements in the game – the video elements, the computer side of things, the analytics. . .

“Well, I come in and have my own computer which is here (pointing to his head), my video is here (gesturing to his eyes) and I guess my analytics is my gut (pointing to this stomach).

“That feel is just an accumulation of hundreds of thousands of experiences you’ve seen. Then you draw something in, you don’t know where it comes from, you just have a gut feel. That’s what I believe and maybe that’s what I can bring to a young coaching staff.’’

If the players have any questions about Wilson’s resume, they can just look up the Stanley Cup he won with the Dallas Stars in 1999.

The players had a chance to work with Wilson for the first time and came away with a good initial impression.

As to what Wilson might be able to do to help get things turned around, several players used the word “communication’’ time and again.

Better communication can lead to more consistent play. Perfect example: Last Saturday night, when the Flyers really cut down on their mental mistakes in a 4-2 road win over Pittsburgh.

Head coach Dave Hakstol says communication is about the most important element of an effective defense.

“No question among players,’’ Hakstol said. “It’s a little bit of a lost art, to be honest with you, in the game, the amount of communication between players on the ice.

“I’ll be honest with you, that starts at younger ages now. And it filters all the way through to the top levels. That’s one area. . .the game is so fast, the more you talk, the more you communicate, the easier it is to read and react to plays.’’

Andrew MacDonald agreed with that assessment.

“I think a lot of times when you do struggle, you know it’s a much easier time when you speak out there,’’ he said. “Just to make everyone is on the same page.

“Even if it’s the most obvious thing, you try to talk your way through the game. I think when you get some results from that, you can build some confidence. As a D-corps in general, it helps.’’

Avatar photo
About Wayne Fish 2437 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.