Hakstol hopes to get better handle on replay challenges
VOORHEES, N.J. » 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 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 to ‘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.
Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol acknowledges he has to do better when it comes to evaluating the necessity of an offsides challenge, among other head coaching puzzles.