Laviolette under pressure in 2013-14
In dissecting exactly what went wrong last season, Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was able to produce a pretty exhaustive list.
"There were lots of things we needed to do better," he said when we chatted recently. "We need to stay healthier. We need to execute better. We need to be more consistent. We need to play better defensively. You look at our team, in my opinion, we didn't generate enough offensively either. There was lots of things."
Then he continued.
"The [lockout-shortened] schedule, and this is by no means an excuse because everybody dealt with the same schedule ... we fell behind 2-6 right away," he said. "We were eight games in, and it was like, we have to win 80 percent of our games from this point out to get to the playoffs. It just unwound and things happened from there."
The Flyers actually finished the season strong. They won four consecutive games and six of their final seven games of the season. That sometimes happens for non-playoff teams when the pressure is off, but you got the sense with this team that a full season might have meant a playoff berth. Either way, the players left Philadelphia angry heading into the summer. To Laviolette, that's a positive.
"The thing about players in general is they're proud. When you're humbled and embarrassed a little bit by not doing what you're supposed to do, it sharpens your senses. It sharpens your enthusiasm."
You want guys like Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell playing with an edge, with something to prove. But it's also interesting that in listing all the things that went sideways last season, Laviolette never once mentioned goaltending. Maybe it was an omission or maybe it's just an assumption when you're the Flyers coach, but of all the problems on Laviolette's mind, goaltending wasn't at the forefront.
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