Tocchet: "Everyone wants to see the Flyers out of the playoffs. I guarantee that."
3/26/2013 12:00:00 PM
The term ‘do or die’ has been thrown around a lot in relation to the Flyers season lately but as the Orange and Black prepare for the stretch run it’s abundantly clear that every game matters.
Harry Mayes crunched the numbers and declared that the Flyers have to go 11-4-2 down the stretch for them to sneak into the playoffs. Former Flyer Rick Tocchet joined Tony Bruno and Mayes to break down the Flyers chances going forward.
While not outright comparing the two teams, Tocchet pointed to Pittsburgh to show that teams have the ability to go on extended winning streaks. He is convinced that this week will determine if the Flyers make the playoffs or not.
Tocchet also believes that they need to change up their defensive approach if they are going to enjoy success down the stretch and into the postseason.
“I really believe that the Flyers have to play good, sound defensive hockey and wait for their breaks. I have not liked the way that they’ve played this year. I think that they’ve pressed the issue; there have been a lot of odd-man rushes against.
“I like the way that they played last game. I know they lost to Pittsburgh but they played a more responsible game. There is nothing wrong with trying to win a game 2-1. Against the Rangers they have to play a patient game. You’ve gotta be patient and hopefully your big guys score a couple of goals for you.”
The defense has been the source of a lot of derision from fans this season but Tocchet believes that Peter Laviolette just has to do the best he can with the group he has been given.
“I think you’ve got to coach your roster. You can’t press the issue if you don’t have Drew Doughty and Duncan Keith. You’ve gotta play what you have. Their ‘D’ is serviceable, they’re big and they’re tough. I think that they just have to protect the middle a little bit more.”
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren was reportedly in San Jose checking out veteran defenseman Dan Boyle. The 36-year-old from Ottawa would definitely be an upgrade but Tocchet would much rather see the Flyers trade draft picks as opposed to blowing up the young core.
“Somebody who has a little bit of giddyup and go back there I think would bring a little bit of an attitude change to the locker room. As long as you don’t kill your core group of players […] I wouldn’t want the Flyers to start breaking up that young core for the short team.”
Tocchet said that he has been in this position before and there are only two ways you can go about it: fold up and get your golf plans together or buckle down and get after it.
“I’ve been on a team where I could tell that four or five guys have packed it in and they’re just playing it out and I’ve been on teams where you just buckle down one game at a time. They just gotta worry about tonight. If they can play loose, a little bit looser but a tight defensive game and Bryzgalov has another strong outing then I like the Flyers tonight. They’re at home, it’s do or die and the fans will be behind them.”
Tocchet thinks that if the Flyers get into the playoffs then they have the ability to make some noise as a lower seed.
“If the Flyers get in they can beat the team that they’re playing who will be a higher seed. If they get the eighth or the seventh seed and they have to play a Pittsburgh or a Boston…they would not want to play the Flyers. They’d rather play the Winnipeg Jets or the Hurricanes or Ottawa.
“Everyone wants to see the Flyers out of the playoffs. I guarantee that.”