Okay, I'm sure I'm probably going to catch a bunch of flak from this. And before I say anything, let me establish the following:
1) Laviolette is a better coach than Stevens, in my opinion.
2) He needs time to straighten this team out. 5 games hasn't been enough, and they are improving.
3) I do not want to see any rash trades or decisions that might cripple a roster that - on paper - should be very good.
With that said, am I the only one who's getting tired of the 'Oh, we're learning a new system' excuse?
I know they haven't had that much practice time, but here's the thing...these are elite level hockey players. At this point in the game, there is no new system they should not have encountered before and have an understanding of. Even if it's some kind of system they never played growing up in midgets, bantams, juniors, college, the AHL, or elsewhere in the NHL, they should have - at some point - seen video of it while prepping for an opponent.
I never played hockey at an extremely high level, but even some of the better players in my damn high school league had a working knowledge of most of the different systems that exist. There really aren't that many, and it's really not that complex.
I just feel that 'learning the new system' is actually a very thin excuse for them screwing up. The new system doesn't cause them to continue taking bad penalties, or for Coburn to make a blind backhand pass at the opposing blue line when he has an empty net to defend.
I just think it's clearly a lack of focus/concentration/effort/chemistry, or something. I'm not buying the "it's a new system, we can't pick it up that fast." They're pro hockey players, they damn well should know all of the different basic systems and whatever tweaks Lavi might be making. There's not a single style of play in hockey that takes a rocket scientist, and by this point in their careers they should be able to adapt on the fly.
Players in the NHL have almost zero time to make decisions. When one guy needs to play the puck to another and takes the extra beat to remember he's now over there instead of where he would have been before, it's going to look ugly. It's nothing new to these guys, but that doesn't mean everything is ingrained as habit yet, which is really what it has to be in order to make decisions quickly enough to play at this level. It's not just an excuse.
obviously the Flyers believed all the pre-season hype about them being the league wide favorite.....honestly how many games have they come out skating hard, UP ON THIER SKATES?
Laviolette's "charming" post game news conference after the Devils game spoke of how uninspired they played the whole first period. We probably won't see Laviolette's team until after the Olympic break. It may be the wrong mix of players, team chemistry can be a MONSTER. Let's give the new coach some time here.
System is important, but overused. In this forum, "system" is akin to an anti-inflammatory drug - it is used to dull the discomfort that would accompany an honest and dispassionate evaulation of the players on this team, many of whom have been anointed He Who Shall Not Be Criticized by years of puppy love.
Go find the latest Parent thread if you need examples. You can search for "Matt Stairs Sucks" to find the kind of venom that gets spewed in response to anyone who slights a Sacred Cow.
But CantSeeColors makes a very good point above. The Flyers can't be as bad as they have played, so better times are likely coming once they get "on the same page" with Laviolette. I, for one, can't wait because they are no fun to watch at present.