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CHIEF MAKES CHANGES; LAPPY AN UNDERRATED ADDITION

Flyers will trot out new line combinations and defensive pair tonight as Berube looks to fix what was broken.
Tuesday, 10.08.2013 / 2:46 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Flyers Inside Out
CHIEF MAKES CHANGES; LAPPY AN UNDERRATED ADDITION

VOORHEES, N.J. – It is Day One of the Craig Berube era for the Philadelphia Flyers, and there were some very telling moments at his first “practice” which technically was a morning skate but had more than a few practice elements to it.

There were line juggles. There was defensive realignment. There were game situations practiced – namely breakouts and forechecking, before getting to special teams.

All told, the Flyers morning skate, which usually runs about 20 minutes at half-speed, was a 50-minute hockey-fest with a lot of game-speed action.

Something tells me this won’t be the norm on game days, and was rather a one-time deal as Berube tries to make on-the-fly systematic adjustments.

Nevertheless, the lineup switches are more indicative of the fact that maybe he wasn’t of the same mindset as Laviolette when it came to who should play with whom.

The top line saw Wayne Simmonds playing with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell, putting two crash and bang guys on the same line as Giroux.

If that doesn’t create space for Giroux, who hasn’t registered a point yet this season, than nothing will.

Vinny Lecavalier is still centering the second line, with Jake Voracek on the right, and Brayden Schenn back on the left.

Jake Voracek is without a point so far this season, and new Flyers coach Craig Berube bluntly suggested Voracek needs to step up his game.

This marks the third different line Voracek has been on in four games this season, and while there is still some belief that he is feeling the affects of back injury suffered in the last home preseason game, he’s healthy enough to be playing and Berube had a simple message about his game:

“He needs to be better,” the new coach said.

Schenn also has bounced around onto three different lines, and two different wings. He got a power play goal in the opener, but since then has been pretty non-descript. Berube is hoping he can break out playing with two excellent playmakers in Lecavalier and Voracek.

The third line was one that was reunited from last year and one that looked pretty good when they were together and that was Max Talbot, Sean Couturier and Matt Read.

“Up front we haven’t being scoring goals, so I wanted to mix it up a little bit,” Berube said. “I always liked Couturier, Read and Talbot though. They’ve been a good line before.”

The fourth line looks like it will be Jay Rosehill, Adam Hall and Zac Rinaldo, although Kris Newbury was alternating with Rosehill at practice, and those could switch.

Berube then explained his new defensive pairings as well.

“I didn’t see much from the pairings that were going on so I made some changes,” he said. “[Braydon Coburn) and [Nick] Grossmann is a shut down pair, [Mark] Streit and [Andrej] Meszaros can both move the puck pretty well and Kimmo [Timonen] and [Luke Schenn] played really well together last year.”

Another thing was an extended look at Rinaldo as a penalty killer.

“I definitely want to get him time there eventually,” Berube said. “He skates well, he’s not afraid to get in front of shots … I think he can do a good job there. I definitely want to see that here soon.”

Berube added that Rinaldo still had to work on his angles when playing the penalty kill but said that now that Ian Laperriere is an assistant coach, he would be able to work with Rinaldo to get him game-ready rather quickly.

“You know, Zac’s going to really benefit from having Lappy as a coach,” Berube said. “Actually, a lot of our young guys are going to grow with him around all the time. He’s going to be a big part of this.”

The idea is that Laperriere, who became a coach after spending more than a year as the Director of Player Development, can impart the necessary wisdom on the young forwards killing penalties culled from an accomplished playing career where he was diving in front of pucks.

But, Berube thinks Laperriere will have a greater impact than just turning Rinaldo into a reliable PK guy.

Laperriere was known in his playing days as being the ultimate team-oriented player. He was often described as one of

Adding Ian Laperriere as an assistant coach might be the most underrated change the Flyers made on Monday.

those “first-guy-through-the-wall” types. It’s what endeared him to Flyers fans even though he played here just one season.

It’s why he won the Masterton Award in a season he didn’t even play a game in the NHL. He had that reputation around the league.

If there is a missing element in the way players have been playing for the Flyers is that they are too individualistic on the ice and not playing cohesively.

Last season, there may have been a bit of discord in the locker room, but this time it’s not that at all, as this group seems to genuinely like one another. But that doesn’t mean they are playing like they like one another.

“We’re the ones on the ice and we’re the ones doing a job and obviously we didn’t get the job done,” said Giroux. “We need to play more like a team on the ice. There’s no doubt that we’re a team off the ice – we like each other – we just need to show it on the ice now.”

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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