Ice Try, but Hakstol’s Not Taking Excuses from Flyers


(Kate Frese/SB Nation)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

There’s no doubt that the puck took some strange bounces in the Flyers 6-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night. And several players complained about the ice surface at Wells Fargo Center following the game.

“Not a lot of bounces going our way, I thought the ice was horrendous tonight,” Shayne Gostisbehere said. “But like I said as a team we could have been better, they were flying out there it didn’t look like we had that extra gear tonight.

“We noticed the ice is pretty bad right now,” Sean Couturier said. “We know it and we have to make better decisions. We have to play with a conscious of that. Right now we are risking, making risky plays. I mean in the third we just chased after the game and tried to force things. It was kind of a snowball effect.”

When asked about it in his postgame press conference, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol wasn’t accepting excuses.

“It’s the same for both teams. We are not going to fall back on that. There are a lot of thing that come before any of those types of things,” Hakstol said. “We have to look in the mirror. Right from square one. We have got to be better.

“We had the chance to make this a hell of a home stand here to start that year. We slipped. 3-2 on the home stand. It’s an average run. We have to pick ourselves up and put it behind us and learn something from it and make sure we are ready to go a better level two nights from now.”

The sour ending to an otherwise strong homestand is really the first push back on the Flyers this season. Even in their three losses prior to Tuesday’s game, the Flyers were competitive, skating well and in position to take the game themselves. Two of those losses were shutouts to Los Angeles and Nashville.

It was easily the Flyers worst game to date.

Hakstol’s message needs to ring in the Flyers locker room. Tuesday’s loss aside, this has been a better start for the Flyers than in recent years. You have to go back to the 2011-12 season to find a Flyers team that won five of their first eight games, so this is far and away the best start to a season for one of Hakstol’s teams.

As good as it is that the Flyers went nine games into the season without a true off night where everything went against them, it’s overcoming it that can sometimes be the bigger challenge.

The Flyers don’t get the luxury of coming back onto home ice to try to do it either. Fresh off a 6-2 defeat, the Flyers hit the road for four of their next five games, each one getting progressively more difficult. Games against Ottawa and Toronto, Chicago and St. Louis on the road are sandwiched between a home game against Arizona.

It’s a tough road ahead for the Flyers, no question, but if they want to separate themselves as a team with a chance at competing for a playoff spot, a common belief among the players from day one, this kind of trip will test them. And it seemed that their head coach made it clear with Tuesday’s loss, there are no excuses for getting outperformed as they were against the Ducks.

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