PHILADELPHIA – Jake Voracek sounded like he already had a prepared answer for the obvious question, which he’s had to face four times in the last seven years.
Namely, why can’t the Flyers make it to the playoffs two seasons in a row.
It’s something they haven’t been able to do since 2012 and constantly leaves them open to negative scrutiny about what direction this franchise is taking.
Voracek, part of the “core four’’ (before Wayne Simmonds’ trade made it the core three), repeated the same answer he’s given after nearly every playoff miss (or first-round postseason failure), this one following Sunday’s dismal 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers.
“I think we said (before) maybe the core’s got to get traded,’’ Voracek said. “Maybe we got to get traded – me, ‘G’ (Claude Giroux), ‘Coots’ (Sean Couturier) – I don’t know. You figure it out.’’
Well, if it happened to be that simple, we might give general manager Chuck Fletcher a call and see if he agrees.
But Mr. Fletcher probably won’t be giving his assessment of the season until well after it officially ends next Saturday with a home game against Carolina.
Asked how much it bothers him that his team can’t put two playoff seasons together, Claude Giroux got right to the point.
“It bothers me a lot,’’ the Flyers’ captain said.
Shayne Gostisbehere said some of the Flyers’ season wounds were self-inflicted and now they’re paying the price.
“We have to find that even keel, find that groove,’’ Gostisbehere said. “That consistency that other teams earn.
“I think for us, it’s just getting back to basics. We fell flat on our face coming out of the gate this season. But I think we have a good young core, I think we can do some damage, we just have to figure it out.’’
One look at the roster shows there’s a lot of promise for the future, particularly with Hart in goal and six young defensemen in their early 20s.
“Of course we have all the pieces,’’ Robert Hagg said. “But we need to stick together and play as a team. I don’t think we’re doing that right now.
“It doesn’t matter who you put out there, if you don’t play together, it doesn’t matter.’’
The Flyers are going to end up with a losing record at home this season. You need 21 wins just to go .500 and the most the Flyers can get is 20.
What’s the problem? Or, what’s the solution?
“I think we just need the calmness in the game,’’ Voracek said. “(At home) You always try to go, go, go. Push, push. You forget about the little things.
“At home, when you’re losing, you want to get that goal as soon as possible and sometimes it hurts you.’’
The Flyers pride themselves in performing well in front of their home fans. So this sort of effort doesn’t sit well with some players.
“It’s not fun,’’ Hagg said. “What can I say? Some games we open it up a little too much. The home record is not good enough.’’