When Craig Berube took over as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, he vowed to focus first and foremost on “team defense.”
“We need to play better without the puck,” Berube said. “When you play good hockey without the puck, the team comes together and does the right things to get the puck back and to keep the puck out of your net.”
The next day, the Flyers beat the Panthers, 2-1, to earn their first win of the season.
Granted, it was hardly a picture-perfect defensive performance, as Florida still managed to get 34 shots on Steve Mason, who was rightly honored as the game’s first star.
But hey, these things take time.
Today, Mason offered his support for Berube’s commitment to an improved defense, even if others are focused more on the offensive woes of star forwards like Claude Giroux.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” Mason said, per Philly.com. “We’re trying to clean things up and make sure our in-zone plays are more calm and less scrambly than in the first few games and obviously in preseason. I think everybody felt that we were running around, and when you’re doing that, things become a lot more difficult.”
On that note, we wonder what Ilya Bryzgalov thinks of Berube’s strategy. You may remember back in June when Bryzgalov’s agent, Ritch Winter, went on the radio and ripped the Flyers’ defensive system under former head coach Peter Laviolette.