Grilled for 40 minutes by reporters on subjects ranging from his use of goalies to Mike Richards' captaincy, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette smiled wryly when the session ended Monday at the team's Voorhees practice facility.

"Well, that was enjoyable," he said, sarcasm dripping.

During the interview, Laviolette acknowledged that he and Richards "continue to work on our relationship. I respect him. I like Mike as a person, and we continue to work on that."

He defended the center's job as captain of a team that grossly underachieved in the playoffs.

The Flyers, who blew their chance at the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference by winning just seven of their last 21 regular-season games, were swept by Boston in the conference semifinals.

"When you come up empty of your goals, you're left with nothing but disappointment," Laviolette said. "That's where we're all at right now."

Laviolette said Richards, who was bothered by a wrist injury and had a subpar season, was "respected" by his teammates and did a good job as a leader.

"Mike and I continue to work on our relationship, but the same goes for everybody else in here," the coach said.

Laviolette said the Flyers lost their identity late in the season with their inconsistent play and lack of energy. He disagreed with a questioner who wondered if the Flyers were pushed too hard early in the season.

"I don't know if there's a way to not push at the beginning of the year, or not try to be successful so you can have gas at the end of the year," he said, adding that the team will approach next season the same way.

Laviolette said that Sergei Bobrovsky should "walk away with a positive" feeling because of his strong rookie year and "will get an opportunity to prove" he can be the No. 1 goalie next season.