By David F. Cohen

For the Flyers Saturday afternoon in New York looked a lot like Friday afternoon in South Philly.

And the result was two straight losses to the New York Rangers that have the Flyers mired near the basement of the Eastern Conference standings with four road games next up.

Peter Laviolette lost his coaching job last season under similar circumstances so it is logical to assume that the vastly overrated team ownership will soon be pulling the trigger on coach Craig Berube.

For the record, the Flyers lost 5-2 at Madison Square Garden and extended their current slide to 1-7-1 and dropped their 22-record to 8-12-3.

During post-game interviews, right wing Wayne Simmonds was the first to get asked if there is concern among players that GM Ron Hextall could fire Berube.

“This has nothing to do with the coach,” Simmonds responded. “He doesn’t go out there and play. I don’t think this has anything to do with systems or anything like that. It is up to us to get it done.”

Right wing Jakub Voracek was very supportive of Berube when he was asked about the Flyers’ long slump possibly leading to a coaching change.

“That’s what you guys are thinking,” Voracek said. “That’s not the mentality that we have in the locker room. For me, he’s a good coach, probably the best coach I’ve ever had. I think everybody know that. I think everybody is confident in Chief. I think everybody follows what he says. We’ve just got to do a better job of accepting it.”

As for potential roster changes, Voracek said, “It’s (the media’s) job to make rumors, not ours.”

Center Vinny Lecavalier also was asked about Berube after he’d received just nine shifts and 5:56 of ice time as a fourth-line right wing on Saturday.

“It’s not something that we’re focused on or we’re even thinking about,” Lecavalier said.

Berube was promoted from assistant to head coach when Laviolette was fired following an 0-3 start to the 2013-14 season. That Flyers team fell to a franchise-worst 1-7 record through eight games before responding to Berube in a big way.

The Flyers ended up making the playoffs with a 42-30-10 record, then took the eventual Stanley Cup finalist Rangers to seven games in the first round of the playoffs.

Berube has most of the same players this season – defenseman Kimmo Timonen (injured) and left wing Scott Hartnell (traded) are notable exceptions – yet haven’t looked like a playoff team very often.

Are Timonen and Hartnell missed that much?

Berube acknowledged not having one of the two has hurt.

“Well, we obviously miss Timonen,” Berube said. “He’s been around a long time and is a very smart player in all situations. But those are excuses. This is a good enough hockey team. I’m not even going to go there with that.”

Berube has been blaming his players in recent weeks for their effort and focus, and Saturday he made an example out of two players who hadn’t performed well of late by benching veteran defenseman Andrew MacDonald and first-year center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

His latest take on Flyers’ situation is that the players’ biggest problem is in their heads.

“It’s mental,” Berube said. “I truly believe that. It’s a confidence thing for sure. I think that chemistry on our hockey team has kind of gone the other way. We need to get that back in our game, get that back on the ice. I think this team is a close team. I think they’ve got good chemistry off the ice, but we need to find it on the ice. When you have that chemistry on the ice and you’re all on the same page and you’re playing the game loose because you know where each other is and you trust each other, you’re going to play a lot better.”


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