To Put It Simply, the Philadelphia Flyers Just Need to Play Better

Kevin LagowskiCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2009

SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 16: Head coach John Stevens of the Philadelphia Flyers during a time out late in the third period of the game against the Florida Panthers on October 16, 2009 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Flyers 4-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Nothing like a little vacation to let your mind and body rest.

And that's not a good thing for the Flyers.

Fishing trips and team-bonding exercises are all well and good, but everyone on the team doesn't have to be BFFs off the ice to produce favorable results on it.

No, the NHL schedule makers didn't do the Flyers any favors by book-ending Friday night's loss with five-day layoffs on either side, as the Flyers have to sit and watch the Penguins and surprising Rangers fly to the top of the division.

But you have to play the cards you are dealt, and right now the Flyers are folding awfully early.

I'm not putting the season on life support six games in. But there is an urgency to pick up points now, before the games start to come in bunches after the Olympic break later in the season.

You'd think the Flyers would have come out with freshness and vigor for Friday night's Florida game. And it looked that way for a while.

But they were outworked by a below-average team and now have to wait until next Thursday for a crack at a win.

In particular, bigger efforts are needed from Simon Gagne (0 goals, 4 assists) and Scott Hartnell (1 goal, 2 assists) up front, and Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn (combined -8 rating) on the backend.

I say "efforts" instead of "production" because effort doesn't always translate into numbers that can be measured on the stat sheet. You haven't had to watch much of this season to see that these players (and others) are simply not playing as well as they can.

It would be great if the players enjoyed each other's company and had fun during the season.

But nobody should really care about that because, as the saying goes, only one thing counts.

Just win, baby.