NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 22: Head coach Peter Laviolette of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on from the bench against the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center at on April 22, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
If you were looking for a scapegoat for the Flyers recent struggles, which have seen the team's lead in the East drop to just two points, Peter Laviolette wants you to look no further than he and his orange tie. As he said today to the media, he takes full responsibility for his team's inability to get up for the game.
If I am being honest, I have to take one hundred percent responsibility for what happened yesterday. We came into the month of March and we wanted to push. We pushed hard for three days and will continue to push hard, but yesterday I think we felt the effects of that. We came in and we didn't have the jam that we needed to play a team that had plenty of it.
Former Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock was on NHL Live! today, and he talked about how at this time of year, a lot of the focus falls on the head coach. Hitch said that the coach has to know his team and how they respond. He has to understand the health of his club and that's what goes into the decision to give them a rest.
Last week, Laviolette essentially skated the guys into the ground. But with the flu ravaging the team and several hard days in a row of practice, could that have been the wrong decision? It's basically the reason why the team isn't practicing today.
"If everyone is honest here and you look at the game as an isolated game, we had no gas. We had no energy, and I think to bring them in again, with the mental part of it and the physical part of it, I just didn't see the good that it was going to do. More than anything, they need to catch a break, to kind of rebound on that. A team without energy, if the physical part is there, the mental part goes, and there was just nothing yesterday. I think we were drained.
To get a day off, even though it's under the toughest of circumstances and a tough loss like that, I really feel that the benefits will be seen on Tuesday by not having to mentally and physically come in to the rink."
In a nutshell, Monday is a reset day. A much-needed day away from the game. The Flyers will show up at the rink on Tuesday morning for the morning skate, head home for the afternoon, and then come back to the rink for the game against the Oilers ready to go.
Or, at least we hope.