Everyone expected the challenge of this year’s seven-day Christmas layoff to be carrying the momentum over when play resumes December 28.
What no one expected was a 5-0 loss to Florida. Yes, the last-place, 14-16 Florida Panthers.
However, that’s what the Flyers got Monday at the Wells Fargo Center.
With the drubbing, the layoff now presents a new question: How will the Flyers handle an embarrassment on their home ice with no shot at redemption in the near future?
Do they wish they could come back and play right away? According to head coach Peter Laviolette, “that’s an obvious answer.”
Known for his unceasing intensity, Laviolette was in his finest form following the game, noticeably disgusted with his team’s effort.
“I’m not sure getting shut out in your own building is a good thing. I’m failing to see the silver-lining right now. … It’s unacceptable,” Laviolette said.
While no one would dispute that neither the effort nor the results were there, the philosophies on how to cope with the loss headed into the holiday were all across the board.
“You just forget about it,” said defenseman Sean O’Donnell. “We’re still in first place; we’ve still had a heck of a first 35 games. No, we didn’t want to end the break on this but it happens. The season is too long to get too high or too low.”
However, the captain, Mike Richards disagrees: “When you start accepting losing that’s when you’re in trouble. It’s obviously never easy losing, especially in that fashion. We took an extremely good Florida Panther team for granted. We got outworked in our building. It’s disappointing.”
Whether you brush it aside or not, the Flyers will be reminded of their effort tomorrow when they come back to the Wells Fargo Center for a practice followed by a skills competition open to the public tomorrow night.
“We come back here and practice tomorrow. I’m sure that we will talk about it,” Kimmo Timonen said. “There was a lesson you can learn from here. You have to prepare for every game. It doesn’t matter what the situation is.”
How will the team rebound eight days later in Los Angeles? Peter Laviolette is at least confident they’ll come ready to play that one.
“I would expect that the ass-kicking that we just took will make us responsive after the break.”