Thursday, March 14, 2013

With rumors swirling, Laviolette calm

With the Sword of Damocles apparently swinging ever so closely to the top of his noggin, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette spoke after Thursday's practice, one day from the back end of a crucial home-and-home with the New Jersey Devils.

"Even down the stretch then, we were hanging around between ninth, 10th, 11th place and bouncing around a little bit. It's not like we went from 11th to fourth. Back then, we were dealing with inconsistencies but we were put enough wins together to get in," Laviolette said when asked about similarities from 2010 and today.

He spoke of the need to reverse the fluid nature of the club's play game in and game out.

"One up, one down isn't cutting it. We need to get a big win and build off of it and turn it into some kind of streak. I do think the urgency has got to increase and the execution has to got be better. If we choke ourselves to death trying to do it, then that won't help either. We have to recognize the importance of a game but be able to stay loose enough to go out there and compete better."

If you are one who chooses to read between lines, it was clearly Opposite Day in the Flyers front office.

“I haven’t even thought about making a coaching change and that he was 'not at the point' of making a major trade," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren told the Inquirer this morning, adding the following about Laviolette possibly feeling a little warm when he sits down:  

“I don't think so. The coaches have done a good job. Right now, our team needs to play better. We’re making a lot of mistakes. A lot from our lack of competitiveness. Our team needs to compete better. I don't like the way we're playing right now, but I don't necessarily blame that on the coach.”

Following Friday night's game against the Horned Ones from Up the Turnpike, there is one more game, at Tampa Bay next Tuesday, before a quirky six-day gap in the schedule. Then, a Sunday night game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

If there is any malice in his heart beyond the nothing that was betrayed in today's comments, Holmgren would be wise to use that break in action to do something if he does think Laviolette is the root of the problem in this underachieving season.

Following that contest at CONSOL Energy Center, there will be just four more games for him to decide if the 2013 playoff chase is worth saving by the time the Montreal Canadiens roll into Philadelphia for a post-deadline game on April 3.

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