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Flyers GM on home woes: “Maybe we should have bench-clearing brawls again”

Feb 2, 2012, 10:37 AM EDT

Paul Holmgren AP

Philadelphia has long been regarded as a tough place to play for visiting teams — but this year, it hasn’t been very kind to the home team.

The Flyers have just 11 wins in 22 games at the Wells Fargo Center, tied for the second-fewest in the Eastern Conference and, as CSN Philadelphia’s Tim Panaccio notes, they’re on pace to win around 20-21 games at home.

That would be the fewest since 2006-07, when the Flyers won 10 and failed to make the playoffs.

Panaccio also notes that on several occasions, “the fans get into the opposition’s face more than the Flyers.”

It’s a statement Jaromir Jagr disagreed with.

“You have to understand we play different hockey than the Flyers played 10 years ago,” Jagr said. “Ten years ago, hockey was more physical than the way we play right now. I don’t think we have the players to play that physical style. I think we are more skilled.”

GM Paul Holmgren — well aware of Philadelphia’s Broad Street Bullying past — suggested there might be something to Panaccio’s suggestion.

“The game has changed. Maybe we should have bench-clearing brawls again. Maybe that would do it,” Holmgren said. “I could remember when we go maybe the whole year and only lose four games in years past. It’s a different league now, a different game.

“At the same time, we got to find a way to get more wins in our own building.”

A big reason for Philly’s home struggles is its anemic penalty kill. The Flyers rank 25th in the league at home — killing penalties at a 78 percent clip — which os inexplicable considering they rank 11th on the road at 85.3 percent. Losing Chris Pronger (who played nearly five shorthanded minutes a game) hurts, but the team still has a slew of dedicated PK specialists at its disposal including rookie Sean Couturier, who’s been lauded for his shorthanded work this season.

One of those PK specialists, Maxim Talbot, knows how the Flyers can bump their slump at home.

“For us, it’s a matter of working hard and finishing checks,” Talbot said. “And playing Flyers hockey – which is being tough.”

  1. psujay - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    I hope this was said in jest. As we saw with the Pens/Isles, all bench clearing brawls do is bring bad press to the sport. Reading it, it sounds like he was just saying it in passing, not like he actually wants his team to get into a 1987 Habs/Flyers playoff brawl.

    • spiffy53 - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:46 AM

      he was joking.

  2. solador78 - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Bring back the Cooperalls. That’s how most of the brawls started anyways, with the other team making fun of their pants.

    • psujay - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      Comment of the year.

  3. kaf39 - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Flyers need to pick it up and win more home games.

    • BSpeedman - Feb 2, 2012 at 11:03 AM

      Thank you Captain Obvious. A very good point that I don’t believe any other Flyer fan would have figured out. Your critical thinking and analysis of this situation is greatly appreciated, please bless us with you genius more often in the future.

  4. spiffy53 - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    The problem with the flyers is that they are too offensive minded when they are at home. those penalites they are taking are mostly lazy penalties from over extended shifts (hooking, etc…). tired penalty killers later in games is not a good mix. i also think that bryzgalov gets caught up in the same over excitement or need to please.

    • vismund11 - Feb 2, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      As a Flyers fan who has watched every game, I would agree with players trying to do too much. I also think thats why Claude is slumping because he feelsl like he needs to backpack the team, when in reality they have, and have had the best scoring spread offensively for the past three seasons. (most players with double digit goal tallies etc etc).

  5. rainyday56 - Feb 2, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Better get that PK fixed. You don’t go anywhere in the playoffs without a reliable PK.

  6. jamesmakesurmomneil - Feb 2, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Hahaha. Waah, we don’t have the kind of guys here to play physical-great stuff jagr. It’s clear that even the players on the flyers hate the people in Philly. I wouldn’t want to play for those smelly war hero beating scumbags either. Very telling article

    • njbubba27 - Feb 2, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      Are you a Rangers “fan,” or a Shitsburgh “fan?” I can’t figure it out. They’re both so witty with their comments that it’s sometimes difficult to differenciate.

      • flyman423 - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:51 PM

        Let me get this straight jacka$$ you are calling philly war hero beating scumbags correct, ok now drum roll you nuckle head the guy who admitted to beating that fan (on Facebook none the less) was from new jersey lol and if I am not reading incorrectly your name says njbubba right ….yeah that’s what I thought

  7. cakrywyj - Feb 2, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Where in this article do you even remotely see a hint of any player saying they don’t like playing in Philly? Especially from Jagr who is quoted in a NJ article saying this:

    “Jagr would like another season in Philadelphia.

    “I don’t think it’s going to be a problem because, from my side, I’m happy,” he said. “I don’t want to go anywhere.”

    You’re right. Sounds like he can’t stand the city or the fans. It’s one thing to be anti-philly… But when you make things out of something that isn’t there.. You look like a fool..

  8. docvegas - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    holmgren finally is talking some sense. anybody who watched the flyers play back in the early to late seventies knows what paul is talking about. i remember the night barry clemens a player from the oakland seals hit clarke over the head with his stick, and the benches emptied. there was blood all over the ice, it was such a beautiful thing to witness. i think every player on the flyers nailed clemens while he was lying on the ice, including bernie. watching hockey today is not like the old days, it can get pretty boring.

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