Flyers Coach Craig Berube Says Team Needs To Get Quicker, More Competitive
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Flyers were eliminated from the postseason in the first round by the New York Rangers on Wednesday night, after a 2-1 game seven defeat.
Flyers head coach, Craig Berube, took over after the Flyers fired former coach Peter Laviolette due to an 0-3 lackluster start. After starting the season 1-7 through the first eight games, the Flyers began to adapt to Berube’s philosophy and turned things around, eventually reaching the playoffs.
“They’re the ones who did it, they’re the ones that changed and became a much faster, more competitive hockey team and that’s the reason we got into the playoffs,” Berube told Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis Thursday on the WIP Afternoon Show. “To move forward and to get better, we have to get better in those two areas. In my opinion, we need to get quicker and more competitive and we will. I thought we let a couple games just slip by us, where if we just were more aggressive and just did more we might have won one of those games and that would have made the difference.”
Flyers captain, Claude Giroux, who scored six points in seven games this postseason and was named a finalist for the NHL’s Hart Trophy Award on Thursday, struggled at times during the Flyers first round playoff series against the Rangers. Berube says Giroux, 26, needs to become more patient.
“He [Giroux] needs to learn to little bit have more patience,” Berube explained. “When you’re playing in games like in this series, where as tight as it is, you’re not producing off the power play. Well, you still have to play five on five hockey and you still have to play it with patience and play it properly. And I think, sometimes because the power play doesn’t work, early in the game or whatever, we get impatient — our top guys get impatient.”
Last July, the Flyers signed four-time all-star and former Stanley Cup Champion, Vincent Lecavalier, to a five year deal worth $22.5 million. The expectations were high for the now 34-year old center, but Lecavalier finished the regular season with only 37 points in 69 games, before finally finishing the postseason as the Flyers fourth line center, seeing limited ice time.
“I don’t think he [Lecavalier] got off to the right foot to be honest with you. I think that the coaching change, injuries, and just in general — I had him on the wing a lot of the year and he never played wing before. So, I think it was a tough year in those areas for him and I think going into the summer he needs to train real hard and get in extremely good shape and come back and we’ll see where we go from there.
The biggest star for the Flyers in their first-round playoff exit, was goalie Steve Mason, who the Flyers re-signed in January to a three year deal worth $12.3 million. Mason, who confirmed after the series that he missed the first three games of the series with a concussion, was 2-2 with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage in four games. He kept the Flyers in game seven stopping 31 of 33 shots, with both goals coming in the second period where the Rangers recorded 18 shots, including many point-blank opportunities.
“Listen the guys, did a lot this year. Obviously not enough, we didn’t do what we set out to do, but they put in a good effort though,” Berube said of the team. “He [Mason] played the four playoff games in Columbus with no success, but he came out here after being injured, came in and played great hockey, great hockey. It’s great for the organization and obviously it’s great for him.”