(Kevin Durso/Sports Talk Philly)
If there's a word that comes to mind in hockey, or any sport for that matter, it's consistency. Constantly doing the right things day-in and day-out, even if they're small, makes the big things come much easier.
Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol is a big fan of consistency and wants it from all of his players.
Philadelphia is in the midst of training camp having already cut six players from their initial roster as of Monday morning. The first preseason game is in the books after the Flyers fell to the Islanders, 3-2, in overtime on Sunday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum.
While everything is still in its early stages, Hakstol is keen on having his players be consistent no matter if they're fighting for a roster spot or coming into another season as an NHL vet.
Hakstol isn't focused on particular games or shifts. Instead, the third-year head coach is looking for game-by-game production from each and every player. Like it was stated before, it's the little things that count.
"A lot of times, it's little things," Hakstol said. "It's the subtle things of decision-making. Not just the obvious decision-making and quick puck movement, but it's your awareness and defensive reads at a little higher pace all the way down to managing your shift, managing the puck, managing your line changes. There's a lot of little things that get mixed in there that come into play."
If anything can be learned from last season, it's that the Flyers are in need of better consistency. In the waning weeks of the season, the Flyers couldn't seem to find their footing. It was especially disappointing seeing them drop so low in the standings after climbing so high for the duration of their 10-game win streak in late November through the middle of December.
On top of more consistency game results, player consistency was lacking as well. Captain Claude Giroux was quiet for most of the year as well as veteran winger Jake Voracek. The two forwards didn't put up their best numbers and it cost the Flyers throughout the long run of the season. Despite the Flyers focus on injecting youth into the roster, the hope is that the pair will rekindle old scoring flames and post solid numbers this season.
Goaltending consistency will also play a key role in the Flyers success. Lots of questions still surround the new duo of Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth, which may worry fans. If each goalie stays healthy and pulls their own weight, then Philadelphia will have a fighting chance of returning to the postseason.
Whether players are returning to the roster or looking to make it, Hakstol is focused on consistency. It may play a small role at this point of the season, but as things progress, the concept becomes ever so crucial to success.