Yeo’s Flyers Need to Capture An Identity

Flyers' Mike Yeo
PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 10: Philadelphia Flyers assistant coach Mike Yeo looks on during the game between the Florida Panthers and the Philadelphia Flyers on February 10, 2020 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

“Right now, you look at our group. Our identity is…we don’t have an identity.”

Claude Giroux; 12/6/2021

Before tonight’s game against the Colorado Avalance, that was Claude Giroux. It’s been eight straight losses for the Philadelphia Flyers, leading to the firings of Alain Vigneault and Michel Therrien. Chuck Fletcher decided a 7-1 beating from the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team Vigneault never defeated as head coach of the Flyers.

When Fletcher addressed the state of the team, he mentioned repairing internally. He didn’t mean more call-ups from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in addition to Morgan Frost. Fletcher eyed his coaching staff. As it turns out, he chiefly noticed Vigneault and Therrien.

Five days later, Mike Yeo is the interim head coach.

With Vigneault and Therrien, even-strength hockey deteriorated in a system that complicated itself in the offensive zone. Too many passes hung up Vigneault’s quality over quantity-driven offense while Therrien’s powerplay is ranked 30th in the NHL.

Last night, fissures in the locker room began to show. Cam Atkinson was vocal about taking a shoot-first approach. A conversation in the locker room took place. Following Atkinson, Giroux declined to speak about any locker room discussion. There seemed to be a styles clash amongst the rising frustration of a lost locker room on Vigneault’s watch.

“We need to shoot the puck. That’s where we get rebounds. I think we’re trying to be a little too cute, and we score all our goals in the dirty areas.”

Cam Atkinson; 12/5/2021

Every bit of the press conference following another loss to the Lightning acted as a neon sign that read, “the end is nigh.”

“I got to find a way to make this group play better.”

Alain Vigneault 12/5/2021

Vigneault knew his chair was hot. He always held himself accountable, but his number was called, and his time was up. For now, we’re officially in the Yeo era.

Interim HC Mike Yeo

Mike Yeo and Chuck Fletcher have history. Yeo formerly coached the Minnesota Wild from 2011 through more than half of the 2015-2016 season. In three of five seasons, the Wild were a playoff team.

Away from Fletcher, Yeo was the head coach of the St. Louis Blues from 2016 to part of the 2018-2019 season. In one of those three seasons, the Blues were a playoff team.

“Our process has been off all year.”

Chuck Fletcher; 12/6/2021

Fletcher had a gut feeling that it was time to pull the plug.

“I believe in this group…It’s an unbelievable opportunity to turn this around.”

Mike Yeo; 12/6/2021

Yeo mentioned Darryl Williams, by name, running the powerplay meeting. Williams was an Alain Vigneault hire, formerly on his coaching staff with the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. There is the hope of a new identity on the powerplay with a new architect. What about the team as a whole?

“Having watched the Flyers; having coached against the Flyers. Being on the other side when you come into this building, it’s not fun. We have to make sure it’s not fun for other teams, whether we’re on the road or at home, to play against the Flyers.”

Mike Yeo; 12/6/2021

Hard checking and execution ought to be at the forefront of the player performance with Yeo on the bench. It’s the identity he wants to bring. Claude Giroux said the Philadelphia Flyers don’t have an identity. Tonight is the first of the Yeo era. It’s time to establish a new identity.