All week, the Flyers have told anyone who would listen how they plan on being as physical as possible with Ryan McDonagh to test his injured shoulder.
Now, Flyers head coach Craig Berube says that instead of going with what’s worked for his offense all season and carry the puck into the Rangers end, he has instructed his top line of Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek and Scott Hartnell to dump the puck in, particularly in McDonagh’s direction, to see whether they can create scoring chances by pinning the Blueshirts defenseman behind his net…
“You can’t let (McDonagh) force turnovers at the blue line, because he’s just a killer,” Berube said. “It’s kind of an unfulfilling way for a player to play – because you don’t want to give the puck up. I talked to our team today about grinding it out. Just wait for your opportunities.
“To try to beat him wide with speed, other than Voracek, he’s probably going to win that battle a lot of times.”
Meanwhile, McDonagh says he’s healthy and will continue to play his game (via Daily News)…
“There’s nothing I can do about that, if they’re game-planning for (my shoulder). Whether they’re going to go for it or not, I’m just going to play my game. It’s not an issue anymore, so I won’t change anything about how I play.”
…if you’re a Rangers fans you have to absolutely love this. I understand Berube’s thinking, but this is a classic rookie coaching mistake. Why in the world would he get away from what works for his team offensively, especially for someone in Giroux, who has put himself in Hart Trophy consideration? Talk about overthinking things. It’s looking like McDonagh has gotten in the Flyers’ head before the series has even begun.
…just to give you a quick personal experience with this. When I was a sophomore in college my lacrosse team was having a surprisingly successful season. So surprising that if we knocked off our division rival, we would have earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. On the Monday before the Saturday contest, our head coach said he was going to implement an entirely new offensive scheme to attack their weaknesses on defense. Whelp, instead of scoring the 10 goals we were averaging per game up until that point, we scored a grand total of THREE and were absolutely pounded. Moral of the story? Go with what’s gotten you there. Which I’m happy to see McDonagh adhere to, while the Flyers are not.