Hartnell, Flyers not making excuses for poor season

Hartnell, Flyers not making excuses for poor season
April 28, 2013, 2:00 pm
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OTTAWA – The questions, the second-guessing, the changes and upheaval, it will all begin this week for the Flyers.
 
There are no playoffs. But there is reconstruction and even retribution for everything that went wrong this season.
 
“You dig yourself a hole, you have to stop digging,” Scott Hartnell said. “The way we were playing, and the mistakes we were making, we weren't stopping. It seemed like we'd just keep on going down.
 
“There were flashes [of good play] and then there'd be a bounce or whatever and we'd go back to our old ways. It was inconsistency and frustration, I think, the whole year.

“We’ve lost two of our best defensemen the last 15 games. I was out 15 games or so, you can’t really blame it on that. Just not having time to get everything together ... it’s just been a tough year. You can’t really make excuses; all the other teams are in the same boat as well.”
 
The Flyers ended the season with just two defensemen who started in January. They were missing four of their top five the final two weeks of the season, including Kimmo Timonen, who sustained a compression fracture in his right foot.
 
Hartnell was asked what changes need to be made next season.
 
“I guess you could always say you need a No. 1 D,” he replied. “Kimmo is at the tail end of his career and we have to see if we can replace him somehow. But the way we play our system, we have to play it.
 
“If we don't play it, that's when we really look bad. That was the main thing this year. When we got away from what we were doing, we looked like a terrible hockey club and it was pretty plain to see.”

Many of the Flyers feel if the season had continued, they might have rallied for a playoff spot, given the way they played at the end.
 
“I thought we had a team that was going to be in the playoffs, a team that was going to do some damage,” Danny Briere said.
 
“We got out of the gate slow and then we were playing catch up hockey. I like the way we’ve been playing the last two to three weeks but we just ran out of time. We are starting to get our stride finally.
 
“You see teams that got off to a great start and are now starting to struggle lately, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Islanders, and I really believe if we still had another 30 games to play, we would be in the playoffs. Unfortunately we didn’t have the luxury and it’s our own fault for putting us in that situation to begin with.”
 
Jakub Voracek, who was the hands-down MVP of this club, finished the season with a team-high 22 goals and 46 points – two less than Claude Giroux.
 
The Czech winger, who turns 24 this summer, was among the very few bright spots on the team. He significantly raised his level of play this season.
 
“Everything went wrong this year,” Voracek said. “When we won four in a row I thought, ‘OK, here we go now.’ Then we hit a couple games and were tired in the third period and hit an unlucky bounce and couldn’t come back from it. The game in Winnipeg and Long Island were the keys.
 
“It was a tough season. It was a short season with 48 games. We knew it was going to take a little bit more to make it to the playoffs this year. We just didn't have it. We were struggling a lot.
 
“There were some very good teams that said yeah I'm ready to push when I needed to and I think that's why we lost our season. When we needed to win some games we kind of hit an offensive scoring kind of slump.”