VOORHEES – As if we needed to be reminded again, the Flyers made it known once more that the game of hockey is still a results business and they just weren’t getting it done.
In what amounted to a repeat of the confessional they made out of their locker room last month after Ron Hextall’s firing, the Flyers came out with the same blah-blah-blah after they got coach Dave Hakstol canned on Monday.
The team’s leaders – Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux – gave the same sob story about not making enough of a commitment, etc.
What else could they say? They’re getting paid millions of dollars and when they underachieve, the general manager (Chuck Fletcher) says things like: “The coaches didn’t tell them to go out and turn over pucks.’’
“It’s a big change for the team,’’ Voracek said after practice. “For us, it’s just focus on winning the game tomorrow (against Detroit). You can only control what you can control.’’
Strange season, right? First, GM Ron Hextall fired, now Hakstol. Plus a crazy amount of injuries and ups and downs.
“It’s been the weirdest season so far, in my career,’’ said Voracek, who arrived here from Columbus in 2011. “This is rock bottom. We have to figure this out and play better.’’
Simmonds knows the Flyers have been too passive at the start of games. They fall behind and their record is poor when they get behind and have to chase.
“It hasn’t been good to start games,’’ Simmonds said. “We’re routinely trailing one or two goals, sometimes even three.
“You can’t win a game in the first period but you can certainly lose a game in the first period.’’
The Flyers never thought it would get this ugly so fast.
“It’s been really weird,’’ Simmonds said. “That’s the way it goes and we as players have to figure it out.
“We as men have to take our part in this (firing). We’re the ones on the ice performing every night. To be quite frank, it hasn’t been good enough this year. As a result, a man loses his job and you feel bad. I think we have to take responsibility for that, too.’’
As captain, Giroux has to be the spokesperson for this mess. It’s not a pleasant task.
“It’s been four years (with Hakstol), you build relationships,’’ he said. “For one guy to pay the price for what’s going on, it’s not fair. But it’s the business side of it. It’s a tough day.’’
Giroux knows there’s work to do.
“We’ve been in this position before,’’ Giroux said. “We’ve climbed out of it (eight-point playoff deficit). We need a win to get our confidence back.’’
Gordon will work with familiar faces
Interim coach Scott Gordon, who will oversee his first practice on Tuesday when the Flyers hold their morning skate at the Skate Zone, should be quite comfortable with his new surroundings.
Including injured players, there are 11 players on the roster who have played for Gordon on the Phantoms: Travis Sanheim, Robert Hagg, Carter Hart, Anthony Stolarz, Samuel Morin, Phil Varone, Corban Knight, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, Jordan Weal and Shayne Gostisbehere.
Sanheim’s performance with the Flyers has picked up of late. He’s scored three goals in the past couple weeks. Gordon, he says, helped with his game when he was sent down last year.
“It’s good to see him come up and get this chance,’’ Sanheim said. “I’m excited for him. I learned a lot from him down there. He was good with my development. That’s what the American League is all about, that’s what we young guys needed.’’
Gordon was not made available for comment on Monday but will speak after the morning skate on Tuesday.