Enough is enough: It’s time for the Flyers to move on from Ian Laperriere

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When is enough, enough? For the past few seasons, the Flyers have been bottom feeders in terms of their Penalty Killing. It’s unacceptable for a team that was supposed to take the next step in their rebuild this season. After yet another 3 goals allowed on the Power Play to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Flyers now own the worst Penalty Kill in the NHL, with a success rate of 68.6%. It’s time for a change, a fresh face, and it’s time to move on from Ian Laperriere.

Laperriere has been the Assistant Coach for the Penalty Killing Unit since the 2013-14 season. He is a great guy, and “Lappy” gave his all when he donned a Flyers sweater. However, it’s time for Ron Hextall to move him somewhere else in the organization.

Under the supervision of Laperriere, the Flyers have given up 238 Power Play goals against, and last season they were 29th in the NHL with a Penalty Killing success rate of 75.8%. A new season of Flyers hockey has brought no change to the Defensive style, which is ironic because the orange and black now have the personnel to adopt the attack style system.

How many times have you the fans watched a Flyers game, and have found yourselves yelling at your television screens… yelling attack. Moreover, attack as we watch our opponents enter our Defensive Zone with ease. Since Hextall’s arrival as General Manager on May 7, 2014, he has made an emphasis on getting faster. Of course, it’s not an overnight process, and unfortunately rebuilds take time. However, speed is the name of the game in the new NHL, and the Flyers finally have the personnel with speed to pull off the attack system.

This system would force their opponents to think on the fly, as opposed to be given space to create. Moreover, it would make their opponents become more predictable with a dump and chase system. It would be like the Flyers teams of years past.

The orange and black have had new faces on the Penalty Killing Unit this season with the likes of Michael Raffl, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, and Christian Folin. Just because you have new faces, this does not mean you will have success. Laughton is aggressive at times, but others are not. Everyone should be aggressive while being a man down.

If teams within our division continue to improve their PK, shouldn’t the Flyers be trying to adopt a new style to their PK? Adopt the attack style already gosh darn it. When the Flyers go on the PK they become hard to watch. It makes it seem like they are sitting back eating bon-bons, while teams are creating opportunities in front of us. Simply put, this isn’t getting it done. Developing the attack style would make players have to think on the fly, thus creating more mistakes.

It’s mind-boggling, but this is so true, especially for the Penalty Kill. I specifically asked Hakstol last month about adopting the attack style Penalty Kill following the loss to the Colorado Avalanche, here’s Hakstol’s response:

“You’re not going to pressure the PK in the zone. We made a mistake on the broken play, it’s the third puck coming to the slot and instead of collapsing to the net, our top PK’er stayed out five to eight feet too high, and that’s the difference and that [the puck]  goes in the back of the net.”

Honestly, the attack style Defense for the Penalty Kill should be implemented immediately. It should actually be implemented 5-on-5, as well, but let’s start it with the PK. If the PK continues to suffer, then why not make a change? The sit back style has been going on for years, even well before Hakstol. I just don’t understand it.

Yes, Hextall has acknowledged this problem, but it’s ashame that nothing has changed yet. Changing a Defensive style isn’t an overnight process. But, something has to be done if the Flyers want to right the ship this season, and moving on from Laperriere is the best course of action at this time. The Flyers have become a predictable team over the course of the past few years. Changing and implementing a new Defensive style is just one way going forward, towards making this team a contender for years to come.

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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