Flyers coach Dave Hakstol met with hockey writers prior to the home opener tonight against the Florida Panthers.
Here is the conversation:
What does Michal Neuvirth bring?
“He's a good goaltender. I mean, he's
proven that over many years. He's had a good camp. He's given us some
good outings in the preseason and he came in in a tough situation a
couple nights ago and did a good job.”
“Not in the lineup tonight.”
Without getting into specifics, do you
think Steve Mason was troubled by his personal matter Saturday?
“No. I won't make any comments
towards what he is going through right now. And that's connected.
That question is connected. So I am not making any comments, other
than the statement, just out of respect to Mase. I think it's
Update on when he may be back?
Big moment, with defending champs
coming in, a six-day break … so do you need a win tonight?
“Really, no, not looking forward and
not looking back. Just looking at tonight. Tonight is an opportunity
at home to go out and play and get two points. That's enough
importance in itself.”
What are you looking to establish in
first few shifts?
“It's usually simple things early.
We've got to win some puck battles. That includes faceoffs. I think
we've got to play north-south hockey. In other words, we have to get
some pucks deep, put some pucks behind their defensemen and generate,
if we can, a little bit of offensive zone time, a little bit of
cycling. Those are probably the keys you look for to build a little
momentum in front of a home crowd.”
Radko Gudas, Sam Ganger in, reason?
“Gudie has had a good camp. He brings
an element, a little bit of snarl. And he's practiced real well. So
we want to get him in. Sam, with R.J. (Umberger) being out, is a good
fit to go in on the right side there, add a little bit of offensive
punch. He'll have a role in the power play. And those are the things
he does well. So we'll hope he can bring those things to the table.”
Will he go to third line? Will Wayne
Simmonds stay where he was?
“No. No. He'll stay where he was this
morning, on the right side with Coots (Sean Couturier).”
How is Radko different from Luke
Schenn, both right-handed shots? Are they interchangeable?
“No, they're not. They are a little
different. Radko probably brings a little more energy to the game, I
think. Maybe that's one element that he brings. But when I look at
Luke's play, Luke has brought good stability, has brought good
presence, good, simple puck-moving ability. So his efficiency has
been pretty good. We need those same elements out of Radko as well.
From there, the two are a little bit different.”
Challenges of home opener?
“No, it's, 'Let's take advantage of
the energy, take advantage of the energy that I think will be in the
building and go out and use that to our advantage. So you can look at
it a lot of different ways. That's the way I view it. Let's take
advantage of that energy.”
A positive …
On poor starts to seasons in years past
… is that talk coming up after only two games?
“I don't know why you're looking
forward. I don't know why you're looking three years back. We're
looking at right now. We played real well in our opener in Tampa. We
honestly, in our second game, I think we were ready to play. We just
didn't react well to a couple … when you look at three of the first
goals and some of the bounces that were involved with them, honestly,
I put that one on me. I don't think I changed the momentum enough in
that first three, four, five, six minutes when maybe there was an
opportunity to. So I wouldn't make it any more. We got a real good
hard-nosed performance in Tamp and got a point out of there. And then
some things didn't go well in Game No. 2. It's Game 3 right now. So
we are going to evaluate this for what it is after tonight.”
Think twice about the timeout because
of coach's challenge?
“No, I didn't. That didn't hamper it.
But I look back at the end of the night, we finished the night with a
timeout in the bank and didn't alter any momentum in that first
couple of minutes. Also, I wanted to see how we are going to fight
through things and maybe how we are going to change things in-game
without that timeout.”