Recchi and Primeau were the only two forwards who had off years, dropping 13 and 25 points respectively. It seemed to me at the time he was taking his frustrations out on what he knew was a lame duck coach who had lost his wife less then six months earlier. He dropped his own failures at Barber’s feet. After he inflicted the damage to his coach and with the stipulation that it couldn’t have been him when everyone else on the team played like crap. He said Barber had no answer for the Senator’s system. The same system the Flyers had been playing under the two and a half years before Barber came on board, both under former Senator’s assistant coaches Roger Neilson and Craig Ramsey. It must have been hard for them to identify. Primeau later admitted that they did practice the powerplay but only on game days which he didn’t feel was enough. A far cry from “Never.”
Everyone knows that the game is won on board battles. The truth to that series with the Senator’s is that Barber was right, they lost every battle for the puck along the boards. They were beaten to puck after puck the entire series. Desire was lacking. Keep in mind, on a team that was shooting it’s mouth off about the coach and how unhappy they were, the teams top scorer during the regular season and notorious pot stirrer, Jeremy Roenick left with out so much as a peep.
In my summation of this year in Flyers history I see it like this… The Flyers entered the season with a veteran team and a Jack Adams coach with an impossible situation. He had a personal situation that they had mishandled in the recent past, a dysfunctional image, an injured player to trade and no easy way out. When the team fell on its face in the playoffs they could have left the coach go quietly, allowing for the year he’d had with the loss of his wife, but the Captain of the team couldn’t just say something like “We didn’t give our best from the coaching staff to the first line players right down to the fourth liners.” No, the player who forced a trade from two different teams, who longed to be a first line center in the NHL didn’t have that kind of respect for the Hall of Fame player and coach. He needed to vindicate himself by making those around him look bad. Leadership was lacking again as it had his entire career. He left it up to Bob Clarke and Ed Snider to pick up for Bill Barber stating weakly, during the press conference to dismiss the coach that it wasn’t entirely his fault and that in the future it wouldn’t be the coach who took the fall. It was, in my estimation, the second most shameful dismissal of a coach in Flyers history.