On Monday the Philadelphia Flyers fired General Manager Ron Hextall. Ironically, Hextall was relieved of his duties by the same guy that he replaced back on May 17, 2014, Paul Holmgren. When Holmgren was replaced that season he actually received a promotion to the position of President. Now maybe I am naïve, but usually when an executive does not have success in a lower level position they generally don't get promoted. During Holmgren's eight seasons as the general manager, the Flyers had six playoff appearances, one division title, one conference title, and one Stanley Cup appearance (2010). One would argue that these results were not terrible, but the ultimate truth is that it was more of the same mediocre product on the ice (in a large market organization) that is starving for a championship. And the name of the game is to win a championship and the Flyers are still searching for that title 43 years later.
43 years of Failure. 43 years of inconsistency. 43 years of blood, sweat, and tears from loyal passionate fans that are dying to hold Lord Stanley's Cup once again. 43 years of fans getting their hopes up only to be let down like a hot air balloon. Ed Snider built this organization with the idea that they would be perennial contenders on a yearly basis and that they would be the most feared team in the NHL. Well those days are way long gone. NO ONE...I repeat...NO ONE is scared of the Flyers these days. In fact, teams are licking their chops when they see the Flyers on the schedule. No more BROAD STREET BULLIES. These days its the Broad Street Foolies. It has been one dysfunctional rollercoaster ride through the years. And the main failure of this franchise has been the inability to adapt to the changing NHL landscape.
In this instance, Ron Hextall is just a scapegoat; Paul Holmgren choosing to make a change at a higher level which just masks his own ineptitude. The easy way out would have been to fire coach Dave Hakstol, although that would have been totally justified as well. Holmgren cited Hextall's lack of aggressiveness and a philosophical impasse as the reason for making the decision. Flyers CEO David Scott stated that Hextall was "very confident in his plan and his vision, and he wasn't going to waver from that plan." Scott explained that the organization believes that the team can be better now rather than two or three years from now. This suggests that ownership is feeling pressure from the fans and the dip in attendance to improve now; and not continue on the slow gradual incline that the team has been following under Hextall's leadership.
As a die hard fan, I am not buying what Scott and Holmgren are putting out there. In my opinion, this Is a classic coup d'état by Holmgren to bring in someone that will be a "yes" man. Holmgren is the main problem in my opinion and he should have been the one to get the axe. Holmgren created a cap hell during his tenure as the GM and he never brought this team any success. At least Ron Hextall was able to build a great farm system and bring in multiple prospects that could blossom into superstars. Paul Holmgren was a horrible coach, he was a horrible GM, and now he is a horrible President. This organization needs a total overhaul starting at the TOP. We need fresh eyes at the wheel and this means Holmgren has to go.
The long term success of this team hangs in the balance and unless Ed Snider can come back from the dead this team is destined for 43 more years of failure. Please do the right thing Dave Scott, terminate Paul Holmgren and bring in someone with zero ties to the Flyer organization. Also, revamp the roster starting with the captain Giroux. Its time to rebuild. Giroux comes up small in the playoffs and is not getting any younger. And for God's sake...please get an NHL quality goaltender. Enough of the rant...in conclusion...
the Flyers need to blow up the team starting with Holmgren. Hakstol needs to go as well. One year the Flyers will finally get things right. Let's hope that ownership gets their head out of their ass and realize the mistakes of the past. Keeping the old boys network (Holmgren, Clarke, Smith) in key positions in the organization is not fixing the problem. So either do something about it or keep drinking the KOOL AID! More to Come.
About Jason Voorhees
Jason resides in Norristown, PA and writes about all things sports and heavy metal music.