Craig Berube said it Friday night in Detroit. He said it again at Tuesday’ morning skate: The Flyers’ culture of being a team known for taking penalties has to change.
Ex-Flyers enforcer Tommy Sestito, who will be in Vancouver’s lineup Tuesday against the Flyers, agrees.
“It’s funny it comes from Berube [saying that], but he didn’t take dumb penalties [as a player],” Sestito said. “He was a fighter. And I’m sure he doesn’t expect fighting to come out of the game. But you can’t take penalties and expect to win.
“They’ve always had a problem there. I thought they had Reno [Zac Rinaldo] on a short leash, but I guess he is off the leash right now. I feel like that has always been a problem in Philly.
“I don’t know if it’s their reputation or not. But we had a problem when I was there because we were always going on the penalty kill. Which is tough for everybody. Your bottom guys aren’t getting any minutes because it’s all penalty kill and power play.”
The Flyers lead the NHL with 45 penalties in six games.
“You’re not going to win many games when you are always on the penalty kill, even if you have a great penalty kill,” Sestito said. “It wears guys out.”
Sestito was waived last February and claimed by Vancouver on March 1. Exactly one month later, with the Flyers lacking an enforcer anywhere in the system, they traded for Jay Rosehill.
“It was weird, I mean, really weird,” Sestito recalled. “I didn’t expect it. But it is what it is. But it’s been great, I love Vancouver. The organization has treated me great. I’ve had a lot of fun here.”
Sestito has been keeping tabs on the Flyers and still talks to ex-teammates. He was and yet wasn’t surprised at Peter Laviolette’s firing three games into the season.
“The Flyers are always a ‘win now’ team,” Sestito said. “There’s not much rebuilding ever going on like other organizations. So they always have a ‘win now’ mentality.
“I’m not surprised by it, but that early in the season is kinda surprising. Why not do it before? But that’s not my call.”
Sestito said he didn’t see a lot of discord in the Flyers dressing room that came to light after last season, especially over how some teammates felt about goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryz was bought out last summer.
“He was always a different bird, as you know,” Sestito said of Bryzgalov. “We just couldn’t win. You couldn’t do anything right. When he was looking good, the rest of the team was looking bad. And when he was playing bad, the team was playing good.”
Many point to HBO’s 24/7 that seemed to change Bryzgalov -- and how teammates felt about him heading into the 2012 Winter Classic.
“I think that’s when everybody found out what kind of person Bryz was,” Sestito said. “I don’t know what planet he was on. He’s a different guy, different goalie. You always say goalies are different, but that guy was on a different planet.”