Flyers’ players know ending this skid starts with them

Wayne Simmonds

VOORHEES – They’ve watched a general manager get fired, a head coach get fired and an assistant coach get fired.

They’re under .500 since all this took place, so now the Flyers’ players know the accountability for this downward-spiraling season rests squarely on their shoulders.

Heading into Saturday’s afternoon game against the Calgary Flames (which will complete the first half of the season), the last-place Flyers are at least 12 points (or more) out of a playoff berth.

To believe that they can bounce back from their current 15-20-5 mark and make the postseason would be a big stretch, to say the least.

Is it safe to say the players have to start looking in the mirror?

They better. Because the NHL trade deadline is coming up on Feb. 25 and there are very few people safe in the Philadelphia locker room right now.

“We have to just stick with it,’’ Jake Voracek said after Friday’s practice at the Skate Zone. “Getting down every night is not something you want to do.

“I think we have to make sure we stay with the game. It’s on everybody. I go out there and work my tail off. We had a good start under ‘Gordo’ (coach Scott Gordon) and we let it slip away. We have to stick together as a group.’’

The Flyers are at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings and post an ugly minus-31 team goal differential.

Their seven home wins after 40 games are tied with Arizona for fewest in the NHL.

The Flyers need to build off some of the positives of Thursday night’s 5-3 loss to Carolina, according to Wayne Simmonds.

“I thought we had a lot of possession time,’’ he said. “We had some opportunities and missed, so we have to bear down. Connect, hit the net on those so we can get second-chance opportunities.’’


Konecny slumping


Travis Konecny hasn’t scored a goal in 13 games dating back to Dec. 8 yet continues to draw starting assignments on the Flyers’ top line.

Gordon indicated he’s somewhat satisfied with Konecny’s play, so don’t look for any radical changes in the near future.

But there is room for improvement.

“It’s not a question of him getting opportunities,’’ Gordon said. “It’s a question of getting volume. The way you get volume is the details in your game.

“From puck management. . .confidence. You get confidence by doing the right things, getting to the right spots. All of a sudden, instead of a backcheck, you’re maintaining a forecheck.

“Being around the net is different than being at the net. It’s more about the details in his game that have taken opportunities away from his game.’’


Hart ready for extra work


With the latest injury to Michal Neuvirth, it looks like Carter Hart is going to get more work.

That’s fine with him. He’s 20 and raring to go.

“I mean, I just have to take things one day at a time,’’ he said. “You can’t really control what’s going on. Make sure I focus what I need to do so I can play at my best.’’

In five games so far, Hart is 2-3-0 with a 2.78 goals-against average and .899 save percentage.

What has Hart learned since he was promoted from the AHL?

“The only difference here is you don’t have a lot of time to practice,’’ he said. “In the AHL you play a lot on weekends, you have a lot of time to practice during the week and work on things.

“Here, you play almost every second day. The practice time is limited. Each practice you get, you have to make sure you’re coming in with purpose. Try to make the most out of every practice. In a long season, it’s important to find consistency and that starts in practice.’’

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About Wayne Fish 2444 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.

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