Oct 212010
Chris Pronger and Peter Laviolette

Chris Pronger and Peter Laviolette

October 21 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Unhappy with the team’s power play in the season’s first five games, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette did some tinkering during Wednesday’s practice in Voorhees.

The biggest move: Chris Pronger, whose surgically repaired knee is gaining strength and allowing him to be more active, replaced Mike Richards on the top power-play unit, one that, like last season, now has two defensemen.

One unit had Danny Briere with Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter, along with defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Pronger. Richards, not Pronger, had been on that unit when Briere scored a power-play goal against Pittsburgh Saturday.

Richards did replace Hartnell during some power-play shifts later in Wednesday’s practice.

The other power-play unit had Ville Leino and Nik Zherdev dividing time on a line with Richards and Claude Giroux up front. Matt Carle and Andrej Meszaros were on the back end.

Laviolette hinted that Meszaros, owner of a powerful shot, will be getting more power-play time than he has received in the first five games.

“We need to work on it. It doesn’t just happen overnight,” Pronger said of the power-play attack. “There needs to be that chemistry.”

Laviolette was pleased with the way the power play worked on Wednesday.

“I thought they moved it around well today,” said Laviolette, whose team will host penalty-happy Anaheim on Thursday. “We’re just trying to find different things. I thought Briere, Carter, and Hartnell did a good job when they were on the power play. They got some opportunities and got some shots on net.”

The Flyers even had Pronger up front on some of the power plays, a move they employed during some of last season’s playoffs.

Hindered by opponents’ blocked shots, the Flyers‘ power play is 2 for 22 (9.1 percent). Entering Wednesday, that placed them 24th in the 30-team NHL.

“We’ve just got to simplify. If you look at what we did last year – a couple passes up top, shot . . . rebound,” said Carter, whose Flyers were third in the NHL with a 21.5 power-play success rate last season. “There’s really no secret to it. . . . Just shoot pucks and get rebounds and score goals. We’ve been pretty fancy this year. We’ve got to kind of simplify things.”

“We have to charge the net [more] and get more second chances,” said Leino, who began the season on a power-play unit with Richards, Briere, Carter, and Timonen.”

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