NOT THEIR SPECIALTY
And while the Flyers can't complain right now, they are perfectionists, and still have some concerns.
Like special teams.
When John Stevens was the coach, he used to add his power play percentage to his penalty kill rate.
"Anything above 103 and you're happy," he once said.
Right now the Flyers are at 98.7.
Not bad for a body temperature, but Stevens would tell you the Flyers have work to do.
And they wouldn't disagree with their former coach.
Both the power play and the penalty kill have been inconsistent this season, which is why the PP finds itself tied for 17th in the league (17.1 pct.) and the PK is tied for 16th (81.6 pct.)
"We have to find a way to improve it," Danny Briere said. "We know we can be better in those areas." But, not everything can be perfect all the time. If it were we'd be winning games 7-1, 8-1 every night. Come to think of it, if that happened we'd start complaining that we can't play in close games."
There have been a lot of reasons the Flyers can't get rolling on special teams. On the PP players have said there's a lack of movement at times, an unwillingness to create traffic at others, or even trying to be too cute when a simpler approach would likely prove successful.
As for the PK, well, let's just say this unit really misses Ian Laperriere this season.
Not to mention, Chris Pronger has also been out of the lineup, and he is an integral piece to both special teams units, so it's understandable that they are a middling bunch right now.
However, they need to get them right by April as special teams is a crucial aspect to playoff success.
"You go through times in the season where things either go your way or don't go your way on special teams," coach Peter Laviolette said. "We've still been able to win games, but we have to keep working at it. Something is always going on. You're always working on something... The penalty kill has done a decent job. We seem to do everything right and then there seems to be a rebound or a backdoor goal of some kind... but we have the right people on the ice."
In other news...
- Chris Pronger was cleared today to begin light skating tomorrow. He will have his healing foot (fractured metatarsal) re-evaluated again next Wednesday.
- Nik Zherdev skipped practice again with a groin injury. He is doubtful for tomorrow's game in New Jersey.
- If the Flyers sweep the Devils tomorrow and Saturday, Laviolette will be named the second coach for the All-Star game in Carolina Jan. 30. Asked for his thoughts on that:
"I'd rather not get into that right now," he said. "We have two big games coming up and I'd rather get two wins than look ahead to Fantasy land."