Craig Berube met with his new team for the first time on Monday afternoon and his message was short, but not sweet.
“I basically told them what I didn’t like so far,” Berube said. “It was just my displeasure with the first three games, what I saw, and what we need to correct.”
His players already understood. Firing coach Peter Laviolette was already a big enough wake-up call.
“You hear the rumors,” Scott Hartnell said. “It’s hard to accept sometimes what is going on. A lot of the onus is on us as players. The preseason was bad. Our scorers haven’t been scoring. We were getting outmuscled, outworked. Unfortunately, someone has to take the fall. But we’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror.”
Watching Laviolette pack up his office left a serious feeling of guilt - and an understanding of where the blame needs to be placed.
“It was a tough day yesterday,” Claude Giroux said. “We’re the ones on the ice. We’re the ones doing the job. Obviously, we didn’t get the job done. We need to play more as a team on the ice.”
The team defense was awful, as Berube alluded to yesterday. Giroux went the longest he’s gone in four years to scoring a point in a season. Wayne Simmonds, Jake Voracek and Hartnell have also gone pointless.
Just about the only thing working was the one position that’s eluded the Flyers all these years: goaltending.
Yet, on Tuesday, there was a noticeable breath of fresh air as the team went through their morning skate ritual. Players were attentive. They seem to have awoken.
Berube, 47, immediately made lineup changes - almost all four lines are completely new, along with the defense pairings. Berube said it finally sunk in yesterday that the Flyers are his team, and he spent time thinking about all of the changes he'd like to make to make them his own. He’s just hoping that his start with the Flyers tonight against Florida will be better than his predecessor.
On Dec. 5, 2009, the Flyers were thumped, 8-2, by the visiting Capitals in Laviolette’s first game. Washington scored four times on a nine minute power play to break open the game. The Flyers then limped to a 1-8-1 start under him.
“I hope the guys are excited and full of energy, not too tight,” Berube said.
The Panthers are coming off a 7-0 shellacking against St. Louis. Berube is careful to not make too many changes too quickly. He explained his regime change as “tinkering as you go along.”
“He didn’t want to put too much at us right away,” Giroux said. “We hit on the bigger pieces. It’s going to be a process to make sure everyone’s going to be on the same page. It will be good. He’s an intense guy. He’s a guy who demands hard work. He demands that you be accountable for yourself. We need to have a better attitude - both for myself and the whole team. We need to have a better mindset going into games.”
Here is Tuesday’s expected lineup against Florida (7:30 pm start):
Hartnell - Giroux - Simmonds
Schenn - Lecavalier - Voracek
Talbot - Couturier - Read
Rosehill - Hall - Rinaldo
Timonen - Schenn
Coburn - Grossmann
Streit - Meszaros
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers