Jeff Carter, who shares the Flyers' lead with 28 goals, will return to the lineup Tuesday against visiting Edmonton, coach Peter Laviolette said on Monday, adding he had no plans to break up the struggling line of Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell and Ville Leino.
Laviolette also said he may have worked the Flyers too hard last week. He gave his flu-riddled team Monday off.
The Flyers will take a four-game losing streak into Tuesday's game against Edmonton, one of the NHL's worst teams.
Here's a complete transcript of Lavy's interview, courtesy of Flyers PR guru Brian Smith:
Flyers Head Coach Peter Laviolette
Q: The decision to give them a day off, is that something you say, ‘They need to go home, forget about this, and stay away from the rink for a day’?
“If everyone is honest here and you look at the game as an isolated game, we had no gas. We had no energy, and I think to bring them in again, with the mental part of it and the physical part of it, I just didn’t see the good that it was going to do. More than anything, they need to catch a break, to kind of rebound on that. A team without energy, if the physical part is there, the mental part goes, and there was just nothing yesterday. I think we were drained. To get a day off, even though it’s under the toughest of circumstances and a tough loss like that, I really feel that the benefits will be seen on Tuesday by not having to mentally and physically come in to the rink.”
Q: Why do you they are so worn down? Is it the flu, the games, or everything together?
“The two games prior to [yesterday] we had energy but we got beat. The bounces that were going our way, aren’t going our way, like the shots that are going in from behind the goal line. Things didn’t click and you could have come out on the other side of those two games. We still could play better, don’t get me wrong. Yesterday they didn’t have the pop we needed. It was like we were moving slow out there. If I am being honest, I have to take one hundred percent responsibility for what happened yesterday. We came into the month of March and we wanted to push. We pushed hard for three days and will continue to push hard, but yesterday I think we felt the effects of that. We came in and we didn’t have the jam that we needed to play a team that had plenty of it. I think it’s an isolated [incident]. That type of game is really tough to take, and it’s one of those losses that makes you want to get sick over, but it’s one game. We need to move on. We need to get that energy back up to a really high level and prepare ourselves for the next game and not dwell on that game. There was no pop out there.”
Q: Did you feel those three days of hard practices had an impact on yesterday’s game? If so, do you fee like it was worth it? Do you feel like eventually that work they put in on those three days will benefit them down the stretch?
“Like I said, if you practice hard and get those practices in for three days, you play a game, then come out and have a brisk practice, then play another two games, afternoon games, I do feel like there was some hangover in yesterday afternoons game. You need to look no further than the guy who gives them the time off and the time on. Saying that, when we get the next opportunity, we are going to push. We have an opportunity in tomorrow’s game to push and to go hard, along with hopefully getting our legs back under us. Then we’ll have another practice where we can push and go hard. I think it is important to continue to get stronger and get up to that gear that we need to be at as the playoffs approach.”
Q:When you look at some of the players that are struggling, wiould you consider a lineup change just to give some of these guys rest? I mean Sean O'Donnell has played a lot of games this season, would you consider just getting Nick Boynton in there just to get his feet wet?
"We have considered it with different players, but I think we have made moves and different changes along that one line. Talking specifically about Sean, I thought that he came off a decent game against Buffalo and we wanted to get him back in there. We gave it conversation just because of that, but chose not to because had played a solid game against Buffalo.
Q: Is it important to get Nick Boynton in there?
"It is. I've had a conversation with Nick, we picked him up to add to what we have. I don't feel like any of our defensemen have been really taxed, even Sean for that matter because his minutes are typically around 13 to 15 minutes a game. I don't feel that any body has been taxed where we need to make that change, and Nick continues to come in here and get back on the ice. He hadn't been on the ice in awhile, but eventually I would like to get him in there.
Q: Peter, one of the things that I felt about your goal tending this season was because the defense was so strong in front of them these guys weren't really taxed in games where things were so helter-skelter for them. They made the routine save. They weren't asked to make several spectacular saves in a row, and lately it seems like they're being asked to do an awful lot because of the breakdowns in front of them, do you agree?
"I already had agreed to that. There is no question that we can do a better job defensively. I think I said it in the press conference at the Buffalo game or the Toronto game. I think I said that after the game, that there is no question that we can tighten up in front of our goaltenders and do a better job again. I think you need to remove yesterday because we didn't have what we needed physically or mentally. It was a tough one, but prior to that even those two games at home I thought we could have done a better job. If we're giving up 15 scoring chances that are quality I'd like to trim that number down to 10, or maybe single digits. That's when we're on our game, when the chances are 18- 9 in our favor. When it gets to be 16-16 you roll the dice a little bit, so there is no question that we can tighten up in front of our goaltender.
Q: You mentioned yesterday keeping that Briere line together. Is that still your intent?
“We were talking about things today. The line has produced an awful lot since it has been together. Like I said about our team yesterday, there wasn’t a lot of pop. We are not getting many breaks or bounces. I think the easy thing to do sometimes is to blow those things up. I want to try to remain patient and help these guys get through it. I believe in that line. I believe in Danny Briere, Ville Leino, and Scott Hartnell. Instead of dismantling it, I want to try to see what I can do to help it.”
Q: What do you think is missing from that line?
“Sometimes I think you just go through those times. You guys have mentioned before about the drought and when things just don’t go your way. There are those times when you can’t find the consistency or the flow. I want to try to get them to remember about the Chicago series, in the beginning of the year, when they were on fire and could not be stopped. There have been a lot of positives about the line, like you guys have said. I want them to get back to believing in that.”
Q: You have been through many tough losses in your career as a coach. Have you learned on when to lay into the guys and when to back off and in this case what is your approach?
“Again I said this. I think that every game is an isolated snap shot. Yesterday was one snap shot. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Buffalo game and it doesn’t have anything to do with the Edmonton game. Nobody is able to predict the future and can tell what is going to happen on Tuesday, but I would suspect that our team would be reenergized just by catching a break and refocusing. I would expect us to be a good hockey team on Tuesday night. We were not a good hockey team yesterday and I accept the responsibility of that so that one is on me. Now we move forward and I would expect our team to come in with a strong effort. I expect to win and I expect it to be great.”
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