Diehard once ran a commercial in the 1970s claiming their battery could start a freezing cold engine that had been sitting on a frozen lake in Minnesota throughout the brutal winter months.
Sure enough, after a few cranks, the Diehard battery was as good as advertised.
Thirty-one NHL coaches will be looking for a similar type of spark to their teams' motors when the NHL resumes play following a mandatory three-day Christmas break when teams weren't permitted to conduct any type of formal workouts. For most, if not every player, it was family time to the fullest.
With the majority of teams playing Wednesday, the Flyers will have an extra day before they tackle the remaining portion of their December schedule with back-to-back games against the Panthers and Lightning. In an atypical move for a team playing on the road, the Flyers elected to fly out early Wednesday morning and then proceeded with a 1 p.m. practice in Florida, whereas it's normally practice first and then board the charter.
"You've really got to find out what works for you," defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. "Collectively, as a team, we have to stay focused and committed whether that's in the video room or looking after yourself off the ice in the gym and just making sure you're well conditioned and ready to go."
Then again, the last time they deviated from their typical travel routine, they arrived in Calgary a day early and proceeded to sweep the Western Canadian portion of their road trip.
What transpired during that extra day in Alberta explained a lot as Flyers forward Jake Voracek recently told NHL.com Buffalo correspondent Joe Yerdon, "We got drunk, that helped. We sat down together, we talked about some stuff we wanted to do better. We had some heart-to-hearts and it worked out, so it was good."
Whatever they said, whatever they drank, it worked. The Flyers rolled off six straight wins to climb within striking range of a playoff spot. The Flyers feel fortunate, to some degree lucky, they can look at the standings and take stock they're only four points out.
"When you get to the end of December and you're six to seven points out, it's extremely hard to get in the playoffs," forward Dale Weise said. "Obviously, playing teams down the stretch, those two- and three-point games, it's really hard to gain some ground. I think we're very fortunate where we're at. That six-game winning streak obviously put us in a good spot."
Now comes the sobering reality the Flyers are proving to be a streaky team, in both directions, while hoping they don't pick up where they left off — now winless in their last two with an absolute clunker in Buffalo. Dave Hakstol's challenge starting Thursday in Sunrise, Florida, is to provide a jolt of energy to a team that has been sluggish from the opening faceoff.
"It's not always going to be there," Hakstol said. "The legs aren't always going to be there, especially when you're in such a busy stretch. So you have to find ways when things aren't going right to live for the next play and keep yourself in the hockey game and give yourself an opportunity to build and push for a win."
Quite frankly, it hasn't been there at all, at least at the start and throughout the first period. Would you believe the Flyers have held a lead after the first 20 minutes just once over their last 16 games, which came Dec. 7 at Vancouver? Still, the Flyers have found a way to win seven of those games.
Hakstol realizes that can't be the pattern moving forward when teams prioritize locking down defensively in the second half of the season.
"When you get a little bit of momentum, that's a big difference-maker," Hakstol said. "I think that's what we've been able to push toward here in this last stretch. It's a very slight difference, but it makes all the difference in the world."
"I think that's part of growing as a team is realizing when it's important to lock things down and when it's important to press forward and we're learning that," MacDonald said. "Obviously, we're coming off a great stretch of six straight and we want to get right back on that bandwagon."
The Flyers can only hope that bandwagon has one of those diehard batteries under the hood.