Flyers Must Define Roles Before The Season Starts

Claude Giroux
Philadelphia Flyers’ Claude Giroux in action during an NHL hockey game against the San Jose Sharks, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

This past season was a difficult season for the fans, players, and the coaching staff. The year definitely did not go the way most envisioned it would go. There were many reasons the orange and black missed the playoffs. We can sit here all day with those reasons, but what the Flyers need this offseason are roles to be defined during training camp.

One thing the Flyers lacked post the Wayne Simmonds trade was that voice in the locker room. Chris Pronger wouldn’t have tolerated the orange and black to come out flat for the last five or so games, but they did. It appeared the players quit on Interim Head Coach Scott Gordon with how flat they were. Pronger nor Simmonds would have tolerated such.

Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek are the two most senior players in the locker room. Both of these players are obviously not the voices the rest of the players need. Giroux leads by example on the ice, and when he talks in the locker room the players listen. However, he needs to get more pissed off, and show the guys that, “This won’t be tolerated.” The same goes for Voracek. How many chairs or sticks did he throw in the locker room this past season. It’s fine to be mellow, but the players need someone to amp them up. They need to know when they are out of line, and when more is expected of them.

With how many times the Flyers came out flat, or how lethargic they played through the first two periods last season it just didn’t make sense. Some of the accountability could be blamed on the coaching staff. However, when do the players shoulder the blame? They are professionals, and the orange and black gave up the opening goal in 50 out of 82 contests last season. Moreover, they fell behind by 2 goals or more in 32 out of 82 games. “Playoffs, we’re talking about playoffs?” It’s very hard making the postseason when a team is always falling behind the eightball. Where were the voices? There was no one, to include the coaching staff, to lead the team with a voice.

With the hirings of Alain Vigneault, Mike Yeo, and Michel Therrien things appear to be headed in the right direction in terms of defining a culture of the overall team. A coaching staff that will be no-nonsense, a coaching staff that will get the most out of their players, a coaching staff that will expect players to take accountability. This is needed with this group of players for sure. Will this work in the end? Well, that remains to be seen in the future.

Will the players have fun? Sure, as you need some fun within the locker room. This coaching staff promises to communicate effectively with their players, as Vigneault has stated in previous weeks. Vigneault believes highly in communication, and that is one way he becomes a players coach. It will be interesting to see if he holds Therrien and Yeo to those same standards.

There is a ton of experience behind the bench with voices, and that’s great. Now it’s time for General Manager Chuck Fletcher to add a player(s) with a voice to lead the locker room. This needs to be established early when roles are defined in training camp. The Flyers could benefit greatly from a Pronger type voice in such a big way, and it is one way to get this team back on the right track.

Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum