If the Flyers players believe that a trade or two will cure all their problems, they're probably misguided.
And that comes from their general manager.
Paul Holmgren doesn't deny he still has his “lines in the water” ahead of Tuesday's NHL trade deadline.
But he's already told the players that it's going to take more than the acquisition of a star player or two to turn things around and presumably get back in the playoff chase.
“We talked about that with the leadership group,” Holmgren said about a meeting he had with the veterans the other day. “The fact of the matter is, we may do nothing. They have to understand that, so stop looking around. Maybe you should look in the mirror.”
Granted, the Flyers are beat up right now, with three key players — Simon Gagne, Joffrey Lupul and Derian Hatcher — sidelined long term.
But if the players still standing think a Mats Sundin, Marian Hossa or Olli Jokinen is going to come here and save the day, they're mistaken.
Holmgren is the first to acknowledge that.
“We need to dig in deeper,” he said. “I'm not sure one player is going to make that big of a difference until the guys here start digging in, if in fact we get that one guy.”
As for the actual possibility of a significant trade, Holmgren continues to emphasize that he's not going to mortgage the team's future. Even if the weekend began with the Flyers mired in a nine-game winless streak.
“The competitive side of all of us (general managers) comes out when we get into a situation like this,” Holmgren said. “The team is struggling and you want to do something to jumpstart it maybe now.
“I think the idea is maybe we have to take a step back and be careful not to jeopardize what we believe to be a pretty good young team.”
Who knows? That just might be a smokescreen. Holmgren might be on the verge of a couple blockbuster deals. But again, he insists on the record he can't let mounting losses or injuries affect his thought process.
“As bad as we all want to win, we don't want to do anything that is going to hurt us next year or the year after that.”
Of course, at every trade deadline, a team's young players become targets. Holmgren said he wouldn't be foreign to dealing a young player ... as long as he gets a young player back.
“I don't know if we would be opposed with young for young,” he said. “Maybe a different position. Let's just say, a guy who's 34 in the last year of his contract, that's something we would probably steer away from.”
Jeff Carter's name has popped up in a number of trade rumors. Holmgren said he's not looking to trade Carter but didn't come out and say what would happen if he got an offer he couldn't refuse.
In other words, untouchable status isn't certain.
“We've had conversations with Jeff, there's no way we're looking to trade him,” Holmgren said. “He's part of our future. His play has been on track for a young guy, I think. And it continues to get better. There are stretches where there can be improvement but there's also stretches where he's taken bigger strides than we would have expected.”
Holmgren sees this two-week nosedive as more of a collective thing, not just a player or two.
“I think our team over the course of the season has relied on playing the game a certain way,” Holmgren said. “In my opinion we don't do enough little things well all the time to win on a more consistent basis. I think that's why we're in this slump. Far too many times we don't put the puck on the net. We don't chip it in deep and chase it. We try to make fancy plays inside the blue line. Sometimes the better play is to just get the puck out and up.
“The teams that are up in the standings do little things really well. We need to start doing that. I told the veteran guys that.”