Today was the day the Flyers Twitter volcano finally erupted.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tweets were sent about Ron Hextall being fired.
The general reaction, initially, was complete shock. Everyone expected the organization to continue with business as usual. To think Ron Hextall was going to be fired today was not even a thought in anyone’s mind. But maybe it wasn’t so shocking after all.
The writing was on the wall for Ron Hextall.
Among other things, entering the season with Brian Elliott, Michal Neuvirth, Alex Lyon, Anthony Stolarz, and Carter Hart as the goaltending situation set himself and his team up for failure.
The goalie conundrum does completely fall on the shoulders of Ron Hextall. There is nothing a head coach can do about the talent he is given, so the common trend of blaming the goalie situation on Dave Hakstol is asinine. Rotating between goalies who are giving up three goals on 20 shots is never going to work, no matter how many goalies are used.
Here is the statement from the Flyers from this morning:
The way this statement is written is more shocking than the actual news itself. For instance, “It has become clear that we no longer share the same philosophical approach concerning the direction of the team,” leaves the fanbase with more questions than answers.
It is also important for fans to understand how ownership works within the organization. Comcast owns the Flyers. David Scott is the Chairman and CEO of Comcast. At the end of the day, the power belongs to him. However, Scott takes hockey advice from Paul Holmgren and, until this morning, Ron Hextall.
#Flyers fans have been critical of the so-called “faceless corporate overlord” running team since Ed Snider’s passing. It’s my understanding that Comcast Spectacor CEO Dave Scott played a central role in Hextall’s ouster, wasn’t just rubber stamping a Holmgren decision.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) November 26, 2018
Most likely, Scott took notice of the quieter building, fewer filled seats and less income and told Holmgren to encourage Hextall to take the next steps to better the franchise. Unfortunately, it seems as though Ron Hextall decided to continue playing the conservative game without being aggressive enough to get the wins now.
Although his personal relationship with the organization may not on good terms, it is worth noting that Ron has helped turn this franchise around and fans would not be as excited for the future as they are now if it were not for Ron Hextall. The next GM is set up for success.
So, the big question is… Who will be the next general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers?
The only answers that fans will able to find for the time being is speculation.
There are reported short-lists with names such as Chris Pronger, Chuck Fletcher, Ron Francis and Garth Snow. Other preferred candidates include Mark Hunter and Steve Yzerman.
Although Steve Yzerman is probably unrealistic, the Flyers need to complete their due diligence. All options should be on the table for a franchise that seems to be changing over to a win-now mentality.
This team has too much talent on paper to just sit back. They can’t afford to waste another prime year of Claude Giroux, or squander the development of young studs like Nolan Patrick and Shayne Gostisbehere. The time to be a bit more aggressive is now, but the end-game has to remain the same. Most importantly, the players have to be ready to make that jump.
This GM role should have potential options lining up at the front door. Whoever is hired will immediately benefit from the work that Ron Hextall has done in the past four years. Although fired, Hextall has created a recipe that will help create success in the future. The Flyers are finally out of cap hell, youth is already injected into the NHL lineup, the farm system is stocked with assets, and there are core players to either play or trade.
The smart first move as GM is firing the failing coach, who most fans would be happy to see gone at this point. That right there gets the fan base excited again, and a spark reborn within the team.
No matter what the first move is or who the GM ends up being, they will have to be aggressive. Because in the end, being too conservative is what lead to Ron Hextall’s demise.
REMINDER: Unless information about a new GM is coming from national media such as Bob Mckenzie or a credentialed writer like Bill Meltzer or Dave Isaac, it is probably speculation. Be aware!
Stay tuned with @phillyisflyer as more news and updates become available. The Flyers are holding a press conference at 11 AM tomorrow morning (11/27).
PHOTO CREDIT: HEATHER BARRY IMAGES™