PHILADELPHIA – Claude Giroux admits the Flyers are a fragile, easily broken team right now and getting a coach with a positive demeanor might be just what the doctor ordered.
Mike Yeo, hired as interim coach to replace the fired Alain Vigneault on Monday, brings a somewhat edgy attitude to his new post and that could certainly help the situation.
“Right now, you look at our group, we don’t have an identity,’’ Giroux said during a late afternoon press conference at the Wells Fargo Center. “We get scored on and we kind of stop playing. We need to find confidence in our group, we need to believe if a team scores the first goal, just keep playing our game, believe in our game knowing that our style of game can get us the win. I think when we get that mindset, we won’t start panicking and trying to do our own thing. That’s going to give us confidence to play our own game.’’
Can Yeo provide that identity?
“Mike is a great guy, a guy you want to play for,’’ Giroux said. “Any time we have meetings, he talks to us, you can see the players really listen. You want to be involved with a guy like Mike Yeo.’’
Giroux is the longest-serving captain in Flyers history, recently eclipsing Bob Clarke for that title. He’s been around through thick and thin and will be the first to tell you the coaching change had to be made.
At the same time, the players must take responsibility as well.
“I don’t know about turn the page but it’s more of a wakeup call,’’ Giroux said. “Coaches get let go but it’s not on them, it’s on our group. It’s the business side of it. It’s not fun. Right now it’s got to be a wakeup call for us.’’
Like the rest of the Flyers, Giroux was embarrassed by Sunday night’s complete domination by Tampa Bay during a 7-1 loss.
Maybe Vigneault’s message was falling on deaf ears in the locker room but a situation like that can’t completely account for that awful display against the Lightning.
“I just know that our game is not where it’s supposed to be,’’ Giroux offered. “I know we’ve had a lot of injuries to a lot of key players but at the end of the day, last night was a good example of that. Our game wasn’t good enough. Getting embarrassed in your own building is not acceptable.’’
Yeo talked about getting all the players on the same page and Giroux concurred.
“We have to work together here,’’ he said. “We have a lot of things to figure out, things to work on. I doubt we’re going to solve all of them tonight. It’s going to be a process.’’
Most importantly, can the Flyers dig themselves out of the hole they currently reside in and get back in the playoff race?
“We know what kind of team we are,’’ Giroux said. “We know we can get back in the playoff race. You look at the standings and you’re like, this is not going to be easy. I believe if we win one game, we’re going to win a few.’’