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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.

Monday, January 12, 2015


Craig Berube met with the press before the Flyers' game Monday against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.

The conversation:

Has the goalie situation been a burden this year, with Steve Mason hurt again?

“Well, he's been pretty healthy. He missed some time before Christmas with his back and stuff. And now obviously he has this injury. It's part of hockey. You get injuries and you have to deal with them and you have to find ways to win games with certain guys or not. It doesn't really matter. You've still got to find ways to win.

“We can't worry or feel sorry about not having Mason. We have other goalies who are going to do the job.”

What do you like about Rob Zepp?

“I haven't seen him a whole lot. (There was) training camp. And again, going back to camp, he was always in position, and his quickness in net. He's a competitive guy. I think (against) Winnipeg his competitiveness gave us an opportunity to win the game. To be honest with you, he made a great save in the second period. That's just sheer will on that play. He has god structure and he moves well.”

You have shown patience with Scott Laughton on the second line, where do you go from here?

“The other option is moving Brayden Schenn back there, and Vinny. And Vinny's been pretty successful on that line where he is at. I like him there. And Brayden is up there on a line with Giroux and Voracek. So I think Laughton is still skating well. He's doing some good things. I know the points and the production are not there. But he is not hurting us. He's doing a lot of good things out there and when you have a young guy like that, it's hard to produce in this league. He's getting some opportunities here and there, but he is doing a good job. He skates well and he is being physical. He kills some penalties now and then.

“So there are not a lot of options, I guess. I guess you could move Brayden Schenn back there but I hate moving him around all the time.”

Do you expect more playmaking ability out of him?

“Oh, definitely. He is a good player and he has a lot of skill. Over time, that's going to come out.”

Guys saying they are playing better but wins haven't been coming. What do you have to see?

“Well, I don't think we've scored enough goals. I am talking about secondary scoring, timely scoring. This last game, Boston, it was a tight-checking game, but we had some power plays and we didn't create and momentum and didn't get anything done until late in the third period. We ended up getting a goal, finally.

“But our power play could have been the difference in that game, early on in the game. Get a goal here or there and it's a different game. Just more timely scoring, I think. We have been playing pretty good defensive hockey. And we are in all these games. I think we are competing hard, but we need more scoring.
Is it a scary thought to think where you would be without two of the top five scorers in the league?

“Well, you could say that about a lot of teams. But we need some more production and some more timely scoring, for sure.”

Are you getting enough forechecking pressure and creating enough turnovers?

“I think so. I think when we look at the tapes and go over them after, and chances for and against, they are right there. We are doing a lot of good things. But in the end, it doesn't matter. It comes down to wins and losses.”

On Matt Read, who has not been scoring …

“It's been tough. He’s obviously picked it up, though, his game. He’s more competitive. I thought he had a real good game against Boston. He had a couple of real good chances, a breakaway and a couple of other opportunities. That’s the Read that I know, that we’ve had for the last two years where he produced 24 goals or whatever it was using his speed and being a competitive guy. He’s got good speed and he has to bring that with his competitiveness.”

Is he hurt? And didn't you say he was playing through a leg injury earlier?

“I would never say what kind of injury a guy had first of all unless you already knew, so it wasn’t me. He might have said something about a leg injury.”

Now? Anything?


His skating looks different …

“I don’t know anything like that. I really don’t.”

His shots were way down early in the season …

“I haven't thought their line has shot the puck enough all year. I’ve been harping on it to get more pucks to the net. That’s how you score goals. You’ve got to shoot the puck and you’ve got to get some traffic there.

The penalty-killing play has been bad for Read, too. Is the scoring slump bothering him?

“Yeah, I think his whole game has been hurt this year with that. Looking at his stats, that probably affects his penalty killing at times, too. But lately Matt’s been a better player --- the player that we know.”

There was a low number of shots on goal from the opposition last game. Can that carry over?

“I think you can look quite a ways now where we’ve played real good tight-checking hockey and did a good job defensively. But again, we’re not producing enough offensively as a team. Now we need more timing scoring. That’s the bottom line. We need more timely scoring.”

Do you still believe in the team, 11 points out of a playoff spot, second half of the season, with the East better?

“I’m not going to question our team. They’re working and they’re competing and they’re good players. It’s a good team. We haven’t found ways to win enough hockey games up to this point. That’s the bottom line. Whether we need a save here or a goal here, it’s just a chemistry thing.

“Mason’s played well and we don’t score enough goals for him. If we score enough goals and they let a goal in that they shouldn’t have. It's just different things that pop up. But the team? Of course I believe in this team. It’s most of the same guys from last year, and I know that they’re capable of doing that job and we've got to get on a roll.”

Did you talk to Ray Emery about going with Zepp tonight? What about the perception?

“Jeff Reese deals with the goals one on one with them, so it was all taken care of.”


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