You don’t need to read between the lines to figure out what Craig Berube thinks of the Flyers’ conditioning level.
Left unanswered is how much more this group can offer if they come to camp in shape, or even in better-than-ever shape.
We’re about to find out, said the coach.
“We made it clear that everybody has to come into camp in shape,” Berube said. “It can’t be average, it can’t be just above average. It has to be exceptional. And they all know that. We need to get to another level defensively and that’s just everybody being accountable every moment they’re on the ice. A lot has to do with just pressure and skating and work.
“We have to change people. Because they’ve done it a certain way for a long while. You’ve got to change ’em, you’ve got to get on ’em more. But they’ve got to want to make it happen.”
Last year, Philly’s camp was a disaster — so bad, in fact, that owner Ed Snider made a point of addressing it following Peter Laviolette’s dismissal just three games into the season.
“I thought our training camp, quite frankly, was one of the worst training camps I’ve ever seen,” Snider said. “I’m not talking about wins or losses. There was nothing exciting. Nobody shined. Nobody looked good.
“I couldn’t point to one thing that I thought was a positive.”
This isn’t the first time Berube’s stressed the need for Philly to improve it’s conditioning, either. Both he and players said the Flyers lacked full 60-minute efforts this past season, something Berube addressed specifically in his media session following an opening-round playoff loss to the Rangers.
“That has to be corrected. That can’t happen,” Berube said, per CSN Philadelphia. “I understand a team having momentum at some point in periods in games for a certain amount of time, but not for that length of a time.
“I think we need to do a better job as a coaching staff of getting our players to change that.”
It’s also worth noting Philly’s recent trends of slow starts. During the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, the Flyers began the year 2-6-0 and never got back on track, failing to make the playoffs. This year, Philly got off to a 4-10-1 start — which included the Laviolette firing — before clawing back and making the postseason.