Critical week coming for Berube's Flyers

Critical week coming for Berube's Flyers

Hartnell is unhappy about being pointless through four games

October 10, 2013, 11:45 am
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The Flyers have six days off from Oct. 18-23 between games with the Penguins and Rangers. (USA Today Images)

The first game of the Craig Berube era saw changes in three of the Flyers' four lines from when Peter Laviolette ran the club. It was the first visible adjustment we saw out of Berube.

The Flyers seem to take a cue from their new coach -- who was known for his toughness as a player -- and they played Tuesday night with more energy and passion than in their previous three games, all losses.

Berube had been an assistant coach with the club for six-plus years until getting promoted to the top job. He knows these players and many of them know him well, too. But with four games in seven days starting Friday at home against Phoenix, Berube will have limited practice time to make significant changes in the team's style of play.

The most critical time for Berube and his staff will come during a six-day stretch beginning Oct. 18 when the Flyers are home with no games on the schedule. The Flyers don't have that many days off between games at any other point this season, so whatever game plan Berube has in mind, we should see some noticeable progress on Oct. 24 when the Flyers host the New York Rangers.

The schedule this month is extremely favorable for the Flyers with seven of 11 games at home; compare that to December when the Flyers play 10 of 14 games on the road.

Whether or not you think the move to promote Berube was a good one, he is facing an uphill battle with a hungry fan base and an even hungrier front office. Berube has made it a priority to improve the Flyers' defense. They need the work. Steve Mason stole the show in goal on Tuesday with 33 saves on 34 shots in the Flyers' 2-1 victory over the Panthers.

Scott Hartnell said after the game that the Flyers have been on "different pages." Berube's job is get everyone in sync, to play as a team and not individuals. If he can accomplish that, perhaps this team will start reaching its potential.