Scott Gordon usually has a little something for his players after a shift that Dave Hakstol didn’t.
A few choice words.
Sometimes positive, sometimes critical, but make no mistake, the most observable difference between the two Flyers head coaches are the verbal cues Gordon provides throughout the course of a game.
“That seems definitely noticeable,” James van Riemsdyk said. “He likes to give you some feedback, good or bad sometimes. Certainly, that’s a little bit of a difference.”
Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said last week that Gordon’s input on the bench at times is “a little too much,” but regardless, it’s a clear deviation from what they had grown accustomed to under Hakstol, who had more of a deadpan stare when caught on camera, especially during a stoppage in play.
Unlike Gordon, who’s in constant communication with his players during the course of a game, Hakstol was more selective.
For those who played with Gordon with the Phantoms, his ongoing feedback is nothing out of the ordinary. But for those who haven’t, it comes as part of the adjustment to a new coach.
“There’s a balance there,” Andrew MacDonald said. “You can do it in a way where you tell guys and get the message across, but at the same time, kinda beat them down so to speak, which I think he’s done a real good job of. I think as a player, as long as (the coach) is being fair with it — both ways — I think it’s really healthy.”
Gordon’s former player while with the Phantoms, Danick Martel, has mixed reviews regarding Gordon’s techniques. Perhaps some of that is derived from now playing for a Tampa Bay Lightning team that may not need much constructive criticism at all times.
“Maybe sometimes he panics," Martel said. "That’s why he talks a lot. You’re trying to figure out everything in one second, instead of calming your team down and now all the players know how to play,” Martel said. “He brings a lot of energy, a lot of character. He’s trying to bring everyone’s best every night. I think he’s good at it.”
But Gordon’s message doesn’t just start and stop with the drop of the puck. He firmly believes the postgame analysis is critical in cleaning up problem areas and ensuring they don’t linger, which is why the 12-18 hour period after a game is when mistakes can be corrected.
“It’s a lot of video,” Jake Voracek said. “We watch a lot of video, which is good, and with that a lot of learning points. It’s been really good for us. I think we’ve been playing better because we’ve been on the same page.”
“I always try to have some postgame review to touch on something," Gordon said, "especially here where you don’t have the practice time, which forces you to work on the little things, the things you talk about. It’s one thing to put it on the board (during intermission), it’s another thing to show video of it.”
Friday afternoon was just Gordon’s second full practice with his new team. He spent half of the workout reinforcing neutral zone and defensive zone coverages, including zone breakouts — an area where the Flyers had performed slow and sloppy under Hakstol.
“I feel like every drill we’re doing is pretty much the routes he wants us to take,” Radko Gudas said. “He wants us in certain spots. It’s a different look from what we had before and everybody’s trying to get into it as fast as we can. The sooner we get it, the better for the whole group.”
The fact that the Flyers are embracing change seems to be a convincing sign that change was long overdue.
The team needed a new voice, and now they’re getting an earful for sure.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.