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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, October 12, 2015

Transcript of Dave Hakstol's pregame chat with hockey writers

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.”

Vinny Lecavalier?

“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 important.”

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.”


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