Lack of goals, effort baffles Snider

The Flyers Matt Read floats over the puck with Devils' Ryan Carter as New Jersey wins 3-0 at the Wells Fargo Center Thursday, November 7, 2013. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
The Flyers Matt Read floats over the puck with Devils' Ryan Carter as New Jersey wins 3-0 at the Wells Fargo Center Thursday, November 7, 2013. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Posted: November 10, 2013

Ed Snider is baffled by the worst offensive production in the Flyers' history.

The chairman of the Flyers' parent company, Comcast-Spectaor, said "I wish I knew," when asked what needs to be done to get his 4-10-1 team untracked.

"I've been in the game for 47 years and I've never seen anything like this," he said after the team practiced Friday in Voorhees. "We certainly know that we're more talented than we're showing on the ice. I think the question is, 'How talented are we?' "

When general manager Paul Holmgren dismissed coach Peter Laviolette last month, "I said we can't fire all the players and we'll see what we have," Snider said. "I'm hoping they'll snap out of it and show us the kind of talent they've shown in the past, and that we believe they still have."

The Flyers, who host Edmonton on Saturday afternoon, have scored two goals or less in 14 of their 15 games. They are averaging a league-low 1.47 goals per game - far below the franchise's all-time low: 2.29 goals per game in 1968-69, the second year of the club's existence.

"I've never seen a team that can't score, particularly with the talent we have," Snider said. "We've got to figure out what to do to overcome it."

Because of the offensive struggles, coach Craig Berube scrambled the lines (again) at Friday's practice. Claude Giroux centered Brayden Schenn and Matt Read; Vinny Lecavalier centered Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds; Sean Couturier centered Michael Raffl and Jake Voracek; and Kris Newbury centered Zac Rinaldo and Adam Hall.

"Trying to find some life and some spark offensively," Berube said.

Saturday will be the sixth straight time Giroux's line has changed from the preceding game.

The turnover-prone Flyers, coming off Thursday's 3-0 loss to the Devils, have been outscored 10-0 in their last two games at the Wells Fargo Center, where boos have become commonplace.

"It's disconcerting, but I understand it. I don't blame them," Snider said. "The effort [Thursday] was pathetic. We were losing all the battles along the boards. We can't continue to be a team that can't score. If we can't score, we can at least win the battles along the boards.

"It's being addressed, I'm sure, by the coach, who's working very hard to break some of the bad habits these guys have gotten into."

Snider has heard the "Fire Holmgren!" chants.

"It's upsetting, obviously," he said. "Paul understands it, as he said to the press after it happened.

"Next, they'll be calling for my head, and I don't blame them."

Snider was asked if he was starting to think his players were overvalued and not as good as he first thought.

"It's a constant thing to evaluate talent. They're good and then they struggle; they go through certain [slumps], but usually not all at once," he said. "It's a puzzle we have to resolve."

Giroux's response

Giroux, who has gone 21 straight games without a goal going back to last season, said he bypassed the media after Thursday's loss because he was "frustrated at myself and how we're playing."

The team captain, who said Thursday's players-only meeting was productive, believes the players need to loosen up on the ice and start enjoying the game.

"When you do one bad shift or one [poor] power play and the crowd starts booing, obviously you put a little more pressure on and you want to do a little more," he said. "I think we need to just play the game.

"If I was a fan, I'd be booing myself, too," he added. "It's unacceptable. We're a better team than this."

Breakaways

Steve Downie, who has been sidelined with a concussion, practiced but won't be ready for Saturday's game. He said that Tuesday in Ottawa was a "realistic" target date. . . . Defensemen Luke Schenn and Erik Gustafsson are expected to return to the lineup Saturday - replacing Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros - after being healthy scratches the last three games.


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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