Paul Holmgren lectures Flyers with hockey stick in hand

Paul Holmgren lectures Flyers with hockey stick in hand

March 15, 2013, 1:15 pm
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Usually, once every season or so, general manager Paul Holmgren leaves his office, walks down a floor into the dressing room at Skate Zone and blasts his players.

Every NHL club is good for one serious slump. And one serious tongue-lashing from the GM.

Holmgren is no different.

His lecture came on Thursday before practice. The Flyers then went on the ice and went through a pretty brisk session.

Publicly and privately, the players say Holmgren lashed out about the team’s woeful recent slate of losses and its lack of competitiveness. He did so with a stick in hand, leading one player to say, he thought the GM was going to spear every player in the room. Holmgren was that angry.

“Yeah, it was a good meeting,” Kimmo Timonen said after Friday’s morning skate. “Sometimes you need to hear what you do wrong and do right and what the expectations are from their end.

“But we're the ones who play the game and we're the ones on the ice, so we have to go out there and do our jobs.”

Clinging to fragile playoff hopes after losing four of their last five games, the Flyers meet the New Jersey Devils tonight at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers enter the game five points out of a playoff spot.

Coach Peter Laviolette hopes Holmgren’s message lights a fire under their collective skates.

“I'm sure over the course of time there's been a lot of both directions taken,” Laviolette said. “There was a lot of talk yesterday, a lot of meetings. Now we've got to go play.”

If the Flyers are going to somehow get back into this, virtually every player has to significantly raise his level of play. Most of the team has a negative plus/minus rating.

Bruno Gervais is minus-12; Danny Briere and Braydon Coburn are each minus-11; Sean Couturier is minus-10; team captain Claude Giroux is minus-8.

Even leading scorer Jakub Voracek (13 goals, 31 points) is minus-6.

The only respectable rating belongs to Ruslan Fedotenko at plus-6.

“The best players have to be the best players,” Timonen said. “It's not just tonight's game. It's for the majority of the games.

“That's why you get paid the big bucks. Whoever makes a lot of money, they've got to be the best players ... including myself.”

Loose pucks
Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn (flu) will play tonight. ... It's likely Kurtis Foster is scratched. ... No one in organization has ruled out Laviolette sitting a veteran player to make a point. That could happen tonight or maybe Monday in Tampa.