Lightning Strikes Lethargic Flyers
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
The annual mid-season swoon appears to be on the horizon. Comparisons between the 2001-02 model and this year's team are different but similar. Former head coach was hung in effigy for not motivating the players and practicing fundamentals. The players claimed that they needed a different type of coach resulting in the demise of Barber and the hiring of Hitchcock. The frightening realization is that there is little change from last year both in roster and performance. Therein exists the problem…and the solution?
Flyers’ Head Coach Ken Hitchcock quote machine was fired up tonight as the Flyers’ coasted to an apathetic 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. One team was ready to win and ready to pay the price and one team was wanting to win and not willing to pay the price, said Hitchcock. We were guilty of the second part. They won all the little battles for the puck, they checked harder than we did and they came in a played a great road game against us. I think we had far too many passengers today. We had players who didn’t want to compete at the level of the game…that’s disappointing.
And it didn’t stop there.
There are people who are given an opportunity to play here and they’re not prepared to work. We turned pucks over…we were sitting there down 1-0 with a four-on-three power play and then a five-on-three power play and (Tampa Bay) blocks four shots from the point…that’s not acceptable…I just think the last two games we came into our building expecting to win and we were not willing to work to win.
On to the team that was willing to work for the win.
A pair of familiar names combined to give Tampa Bay the early lead at 11:56 of the first period. Former Flyer and Phantom Vaclav Prospal started the play behind the Flyers’ net hitting Vincent Lecavalier at the bottom of the far side circle. Lecavalier found a streaking former Flyer Ruslan Fedotenko between the circles whose shot easily beat a moving Roman Cechmanek for his 12th goal of the season.
A blocked Dennis Seidenberg clearing pass in the Flyers’ zone led to the Lightning’s second goal at 19:21 of the second period. Seidenberg’s turnover landed on the stick of Fredrik Modin just inside the blue line. Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis took the puck from Modin and deftly slid the puck to his backhand, lifting the puck over Cechmanek’s glove for his 24th goal of the season and a 2-0 Tampa lead.
Modin 12th goal of the season off of another Flyer’s turnover in their own end rounded out the scoring.
It’s amazing what a lack of effort and energy will do, said All-Star Jeremy Roenick. You get a bit complacent with this game; teams are just too good and you are going to get beat. We are on the outside and not digging in the dirty areas and we are paying for it. We have to go back to the drawing board again and start working.
You need to be competitive every night and it can’t just be for 20 or 40 minutes…it’s got to be for the whole 60 minutes, said Flyers’ captain Keith Primeau. If you don’t do those things and stay competitive, you end up losing hockey games and that is what happened tonight.
I just think the last two games we came into our building expecting to win and we were not willing to work to win. There’s no point in me barking and screaming…the sense of urgency to win has to come from within that locker room, said Hitchcock. It’s an attitude...it’s expecting to win and willing to work to win and pay the price.
Fans can visit the Flyers web site for schedule and ticket information at: www.philadelphiaflyers.com.
Tampa Bay: none
Philadelphia: Sacco (high-sticking 8:24).
Tampa Bay: Dingman (fighting, major) 2:09; St. Louis (interference) 12:57.
Philadelphia: Fedoruk (fighting, major) 2:09; Therien (holding) 3:38; Wright (interference) 12:30; Kubina (interference) 13:54.
Tampa Bay: Sarich (hooking) 11:47; Dingman (double minor roughing) 14:59.
Philadelphia: Fedoruk (unsportsmanlike conduct, roughing)14:59.
SHOTS ON GOAL:
Tampa Bay: 8-7-7
SCORE BY PERIOD:
Tampa Bay: 1-1-1
POWER PLAY GOALS
STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Fredrik Modin (Tampa)
2. Martin St. Louis (Tampa)
3. John Grahame (Tampa)
Chosen By: Wayne Fish (Bucks County Courier Times)
After 50 games, the Flyers are compared to last season’s record of 29-13-6-2 (66 points).
This is the third of four meetings between these two teams. The Flyers have won the first two games, 3-2 in Tampa on November 19 and 3-2 in Philadelphia on January 18.