Hak­stol hopes to get bet­ter han­dle on re­play chal­lenges

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jack McCaf­fery jm­c­caf­fery @21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Jack­McCaf­fery on Twit­ter

Between a one-goal loss Tues­day in Nashville and a prac­tice Thurs­day at the Skate Zone, Dave Hak­stol had one day for some hockey self-ex­am­i­na­tion. He didn’t waste it. Widely crit­i­cized for re­quest­ing a video re­view of Scott Hart­nell’s goal on a 5-on-3 power play with 1:17 left in reg­u­la­tion against the Preda­tors, Hak­stol stud­ied videos and riskre­ward op­tions of is­su­ing a chal­lenge that the Preda­tors had been off­side on the play.

Given that the risk of a failed chal­lenge is a de­lay-of-game penalty rather than a lost time­out, due to an early Septem­ber rule change, Hak­stol ac­knowl­edged that he must be ex­tra care­ful be­fore de­mand­ing a re­view.

“I said af­ter the game that I’d take a look at it,” he said. “The big thing is I have to get it right. I didn’t get it right on Tues­day night. So I took a good look at it and eval­u­ated it.

“You are never sure, but you have to make sure that you do ev­ery­thing in your power to come up with the right re­sult in that sit­u­a­tion.”

Since Hart­nell’s goal forged a 5-5 tie and be­cause the Preds would have con­tin­ued on a 5-on-4 power play any­way, Hak­stol be­lieved there was a rea­son to ask for an off­side re­view. When the re­plays showed no vi­o­la­tion, two Fly­ers would re­main in the penalty box. With that, Nashville’s Filip Fors­berg would pro­vide the game-win­ning goal.

What would Hak­stol do dif­fer­ently the next time?

“I won’t get into that,” he said. “We looked at it closely. The call that was made on the ice was the cor­rect call. So I’m not talk­ing about that spe­cific sit­u­a­tion. More so, you con­tin­u­ally have to eval­u­ate the process that you go through, the things that you do not just in that sit­u­a­tion, but in ev­ery sit­u­a­tion. You have to make sure you find ways to do things bet­ter.”

••• The Fly­ers will fi­nally get around to play­ing their home opener, Satur­day night against the Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals at 7. About time? “I should be good,” Dale Weise said. “Any time you have the home opener, the fans are ex­cited. We are ex­cited to play. We’re play­ing Wash­ing­ton, usu­ally a good game, pretty in­tense.”

The Fly­ers sur­vived a four-game road trip at 2-20.

“We played four pretty tough road games in pretty tough build­ings,” Hak­stol said. “It’s early in the year and we are com­ing off a tough road trip. We’ve got a lit­tle stretch here at home, and it will be im­por­tant to the start of our sea­son.”

••• The Fly­ers’ new top line, with Sean Cou­turier cen­ter­ing Claude Giroux and Jake Vo­racek has pro­duced seven even-strength points in four games. In­clud­ing the power play, the three­some has pro­vided 12 points.

Is that the same Cou­turier pre­vi­ously rec­og­nized only for his de­fen­sive ef­forts?

“You can say I was a ‘de­fen­sive guy,’” said Cou­turier, who has a goal and two as­sists. “But I see my­self as more of a 200-foot guy. I think they can do a lot to help my game, and I can do a lot to help their game. So far, we have been com­plet­ing each other very well and we hope to keep go­ing.”

Giroux was ex­cused from prac­tice and out of town Thurs­day for what the Fly­ers called a “fam­ily mat­ter.” Hak­stol ex­pects the cap­tain to prac­tice Fri­day.

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