Flyers general manager Ron Hextall had a brief scrum with several reporters on Wednesday before the club flew to St. Louis.
Here's some of the highlights:
On the drop off from the Flyers after the game in Boston:
“It’s predictable, but it’s not acceptable. There’s a big difference. Saturday, the Boston game, it’s disappointing for sure. You come back the next night…we gotta be better than that. That’s the bottom line. I evaluate things over the course of the year, not one game. I’m not gonna put too much into the last two games and all of a sudden come to some silly evaluation of where we are based on two games. In saying that, I certainly don’t like it.
On playing "down" to NJ and playing "up" against others:
“I agree and that’s the thing that’s frustrating part is that we’ve shown how good we can be and at times we haven’t been very good. That’s the part that’s frustrating because it’s there.
Is it personnel or players or coaching?
“That’s on all of us. It’s not one individuals or coaches or myself or just the players. That’s collectively. That’s all of us. Gotta take a certain amount of responsibility.
On the Flyrs slow starts to the last, three seasons:
“Yeah, it is. It’s bothersome because it’s not only the hole you put yourself into, it’s kinda the energy that you create at the start of the year. That is something we’ve talked about and we’ll continue to talk about and continue to look at because we’ve got to reverse that trend. Getting off to a good start is huge. Again, it’s just the energy that you get among the team in the locker room, the good feeling that you have moving forward right from the start. Again, it’s tough to get out of holes.
Is it a trend created by players? Can your coaches fix it?
“I’m not sure. One thing that I do know is our team’s been away before the season started and quite frankly I’ve already thought about that. Do we go away again or do we stay home? I don’t know. Going away, you like the thought. You keep your players together for a few days and build a little bit of camaraderie before the season. It hasn’t worked. It’s one of the things I’ve thought about already. Maybe we’ve got to change that.
Is it a system thing or executing system? System to blame?
“No, I don’t think it is the system. Its not really goals for or goals against. It’s a combination. There’s certain systems that will allow you to score a lot of goals. You’re also going to give up a lot of goals.
“It’s really the differential you are looking at. That is how you win games. I don’t think you can just look at that part of it and say, ‘that is detrimental.’ You have to look at the other part as well. They obviously go together.
“The more wide open system you play, the more goals you are going to score. Typically, the more goals you are going to give up. I don’t think you can blame the system. You can look at a lot of things. We need more from some guys."
It’s same core group of players?
“Some of the production from guys is down. That is something we have to find a way to crack. Fitness level has got to be better. The fit on certain lines has got to be better. We’ll look at everything when the season is over. Figure out where we can get better and go from there. It’s easy just to say, ‘all we have to do is score more goals.’ But again, it’s about the differential. You go to look at every aspect. Maybe we’re not scoring goals because we’re not getting the puck in certain areas or guys aren’t going to certain areas. Defense aren’t moving the puck well enough. Forwards aren’t receiving the puck. A lot of things can go wrong. It’s only a few goals here and there that make a difference. I always say that the easiest thing to do is improve from within. If you’re not looking to improve from within, then none of us are doing our jobs."
Is that one area you’re going to look to improve on _ the top-six forwards _ or you’re not there yet?
“No, we’re not there yet. We’re still focused on this season, but I think at some point, yeah, you’ve got to focus on all your weaknesses that you’ve identified. There’s only so much you can do. There’s no magic wand where you say, ‘OK, here’s a 25-year-old Brett Hill, thank you very much.’ It’s not that easy. Sometimes it’s a collective effort, trying to identify things that certain players need to do better so they can score more goals. I do believe we’ve left some goals on the table this year. Sometimes, I don’t think we’re hungry enough around the net. A few games ago, there was a puck right in the crease _ I won’t say who it was _ but one of our guys is just standing there. If they’re hungry to score, that puck’s in the net. That’s what makes a difference."
“...There are five games (in a row) and they’re all one-goal games but one. That’s reality. That little difference there, that’s the difference in winning a game, being 10 points ahead. The difference right now is not a lot. You just have to find a few little things and you’ll increase. So just to say, ‘Add a big-time goal-scorer’ is easier said than done, but we’ll look at everything.”
“I think given the inconsistencies, I think it is something we have to evaluate. See where we think it is at."
“No, leadership doesn’t come down to one guy anymore. Those days are gone. It’s a group. It’s typically, you’re older players. Middle-age guys can add to it. It’s five, six, seven guys on a team that typically depend on the bulk of your leadership. Not one guy or three guys for that matter."
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