Moments before Saturday's game, Dave Scott, the chairman and CEO of Comcast Spectacor, chatted with Flyers general manager Ron Hextall from the team's management box near the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center.
It looked like a jovial conversation as both overlooked the ice.
The joviality in the building stopped there once the Flyers fell behind, 1-0, and slid down a disastrous path for a 6-1 loss to the Islanders (see observations).
Fans booed … a lot. Some chanted for Dave Hakstol's firing. When the Islanders scored their sixth goal midway through the third period, most had enough, storming for the exits and miserable weather that awaited them outside.
A true horror story on a Halloween-themed day by the organization.
In Game 11 of the season, no less.
"We have to play better," Ivan Provorov said, "and we have to figure out soon what the hell is going on."
Saturday's performance would have been jarring in and of itself. Considering it came a day after the head coach pleaded for his team to collectively "sack up" and push forward together (see story), this reverberation was disturbing.
The Flyers looked defeated and portrayed it postgame. Typically, anger and frustration boil over following a defeat such as Saturday's decision.
Instead, the Flyers looked numb, lost and in need of a vacation.
After Game 11.
That's not to say the Flyers are giving up. They expressed some confidence in regrouping and realizing the potential that had many abuzz at the season's start, but a lifeless look this early is just as troubling as the actual score following the final buzzer.
The Flyers must find their life — and find it fast. Claude Giroux felt the team is pressing because it's "just tired of losing." Scott Laughton said. "it shouldn't happen like this" for a group built to win. Hakstol admitted confidence has been shaken.
"As soon as we gave up the first goal, then we start to chase a little bit," Hakstol said. "Honestly, tonight we tightened up in this building and that's not a very good formula to push back into a hockey game. It leads to things like cheating on pucks and looking for plays that you hope are there — it leads to that.
"We've got too much going on in between our ears right now and I see that in our game. So, that's my job to clear some of that up, clear some of that out so that we can go out and play the game with a clear head. It's really hard to play the game when you've got too much going on, so we've got to simplify it, we've got to clear it up and we've got to do better."
Does a message get lost when everything unravels?
"I trust our leadership group," Hakstol said. "That's a good group of guys in there, they care, they're fricking miserable right now. So I don't worry about that.
"You control your readiness, your preparation and your response. That's the bottom line. Right now, we're not doing a good job of controlling that. So, it has to start there and then you move on to the rest of the items."
There are too many to count. If the Flyers let them pile up this fast, the repercussions should be much scarier than Saturday's nightmare.
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