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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Berube not annointing Mason No. 1

Craig Berube met with hockey writers Thursday evening, before the Flyers-Penguins game.

This was the conversation:

There is a break in the schedule coming up. Will that allow time to implement your system?

"Yeah. I think it's important right now with what happened so far to get some practice time and some time together as a team, on and off the ice. I think it's good."

Will there be more than just practices?

"I don't know. Our players have some things lined up for the team, which is good to do. And it's good to get some good practice time in here and work on some things and work on conditioning and system and stuff."

Any specifics?

"I don't know exactly what they've got lined up, no."

Practice every day?

"Saturday is a scheduled day off right now."

How is team attitude? Are players starting to press?

"Well, they have done that, but the attitude is good. They all believe in what we are doing here and I think they have all bought in. So that part I am not worried about. But, yeah, you don't want them pressing too much. You want them to play fast and loose. You want them to play. They are good players and it's confidence. But when you do things right, the confidence will come. That's what you've got to concentrate on: Doing things right."

What is the most difficult thing to implement in practice right now?

"I don't think there is anything really difficult. I think it's just the style of play more than anything, the speed. I want our attack better. I want our 'D' up in the rush more. I want to change the offensive zone play a little bit of it used to be. I just think that stuff right there. It is ingrained in these guys for so long. But I think there's a lot of good things. Our play without the puck has been pretty good. The neutral zone and the 'D' zone, for the most part, besides the last game, that one goal ...
"But I think we are playing with the puck more as a team. And that's a priority --- a big-time priority for me."

Any flashes of the old Giroux?

"Yeah. I see him improving. I'd like to see less 'press' out of him and just a little more free-flowing Claude playing the game and doing his thing. It's coming."
On break, will you take a look at matching up personnel to system --- the players out there, what they are capable of doing?

"That's a good point. Yeah. I think that we do that every day. Some guys take a little longer than others, and a lot of it is a speed thing too. And I do believe that you can get somewhat quicker. Not everybody is going to be able to go as fast as other guys, but just a quicker play, the quicker thinking, that sort of thing, that takes practice to get there. It takes time."

Mason is making sixth start in eight games, are you ready to anoint him as No. 1?

"No. No. He's just played well and that's the way it's gone so far. Too early."


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