NHL

Mike Yeo: Flyers have to ‘go to work and go to school’ to turn season around

Mike Yeo Flyers
Mike Yeo took over the Flyers’ bench on Monday after the firing of Alain Vigneault.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers lost another game Monday night — this time a 7-5 result to the Colorado Avalanche — in what was their ninth straight defeat in a season that looks as though it’s gone completely off the rails.

Just hours earlier, Alain Vigneault was relieved of his duties as head coach. So was lead assistant Michel Therrien. Up steps Mike Yeo as the Flyers’ interim head coach, getting to patrol an NHL bench as boss for a third time in his career after stints with the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues.

His first game as Flyers head coach didn’t go well, as the scoreline can easily suggest.

“I didn’t think we were just going to come here and snap our fingers and everything was going to be right and great for us,” Yeo said, according to Charlie O’Connor at The Athletic. “After the game, basically my message to the players is this is a period where we have to go to work and go to school.”

The Flyers certainly have to dig deep if they want to get out of the hole this nine-game losing streak has created. They sit in seventh out of eight teams in the Metropolitan Division as their season could very well be over by Christmas if things don’t turn around.

Colorado Avalanche left wing Tyson Jost celebrates his goal with teammates against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center.Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

But Monday night’s result did offer a glimmer of hope that the Flyers can will their way back to at least being a potent offensive side. The loss to the Avalanche was the first time since Oct. 27 that Philadelphia has scored five or more goals in a single game.

Over that 17 game stretch, the Flyers scored just 28 goals — a measly average of 1.6 per game.

“It’s a thing that’s tough to feel from watching the game, but when you’re on the bench  — I know that those guys really cared,” Yeo said. “And unfortunately, I think that just focus-wise that led to some situations where we were good, and we were doing some of the right things and it led to some others whether it’s taking some penalties… you’re trying so hard that you’re kind of digging yourself into a deep hole.”

The firing of Vigneault will certainly provide the shock value or shot in the arm that’s needed to at least rattle some cages within the Flyers’ locker room. The distribution of scoring on Monday suggests that, too.

While Claude Giroux posted a pair and Cam Atkinson added one — two of the usual suspects — Scott Laughton tallied his fifth of the year while Oskar Lindblom finally got his first of 2021-22 in the Flyers’ 23rd game of the season.

More of that, please, says Yeo.

“We want to be a team that attacks, no question,” Yeo said. “We have opportunities off the rush, if we have time and space we need to make our plays off those entries.”

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