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Mason says Flyers are ‘trying to clean things up’ defensively

Oct 10, 2013, 4:59 PM EDT

Steve Mason Getty Images

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 “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.

  1. flydommo - Oct 10, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    The Chief is exactly right on that one. The Flyers defense is big and sluggish, they simply could not execute Laviolettes up-tempo style with its heavy emphasis on forechecking. With the exception of Giroux, the forwards are not technically skilled enough to play a Domination game. The Flyers must return to a hard-working, blue-collar, net-crashing type of play, and Berube may be the right guy for this.

  2. sgtr0c - Oct 10, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Winter was so right, look at well Bryz is playing with his new team…, wait, oh, yeah…

    The Flyers are playing like crap, but it is even more obivious that the fault should lie with the teflon GM. Snyder should stop acting like a fan and start expecting results from P.H.

  3. mcphillthy - Oct 10, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Meh. This isn’t even a story. Come on

  4. ravanator - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    After watching this team the other night, it appears they have already given up on this season. They are going to tank the year and hope for the first pick of the draft. Philly will be irrelevant again this season.

    • ibieiniid - Oct 11, 2013 at 8:06 AM

      you mean the game they won?

  5. stevierod - Oct 11, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Why do we care about what Bryz’s agent has to say? He needs to position his player in a light so he might get another ridiculous contract that he will never live up to…

    I understand that he may have been screened by defensemen more often than not, but you are still paid to stop the puck (which he didn’t really like to do). And the Flyers were not the only team that had a defensive system that emphasized blocked shots.

    • dku5 - Oct 11, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Just to clarify your point, Stevie: One of the important jobs of the goalie is to communicate with his team, specifically the defenseman. He should have been yelling at the top of his lungs everytime he was screened. The D would then clear the lane by checking the opponents, getting low, or stepping aside. Blocking the shot is great, but the goalie is responsible for the puck carrier, and he has best postition to see the play developing.

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