What a day. What a fucking day. Minutes after publishing a blog calling for Dave Hakstol’s head, the Flyers one up me by sending the firing squad all the way to the top floor and shit canning Ron Hextall. In case you missed it, here was my opening paragraph in the “Fire Hakstol” blog from earlier.
Ron Hextall might be the biggest shit bird in a city filled with an overabundance of shit birds. Sorry for coming out of the gates so hot but it’s the truth. Ron Hextall is a coward and an arrogant ass whose own ego is destroying the status of the Flyers in this city. Philadelphia has never been a fair weather town. Philadelphia has never been a city to be completely disinterested and indifferent toward their 4 major teams. It doesn’t matter how shitty they are at times, Philly fans always ride and die with their teams. But that’s not the case anymore with the Flyers. This city went from loving this team, to hating their guts, to not even caring enough to be angry anymore. And the reason why everybody is so indifferent toward this team is because they have an incompetent head coach who can’t get his guys mentally and emotionally prepared to play each night, so they come out flat as shit to start the 1st period, give up a FUCKING HAT TRICK TO SOME NO NAME 3RD LINE SCRUB ON TORONTO IN THE FIRST 13 MINUTES OF THE GAME, and everybody just changes the channel from there because who cares. And as much as Dave Hakstol sucks at his job, it’s Ron Hextall who has the ability to pull the plug on the guy. But we got to where we’re at today because Hakstol let Ron’s son play hockey at North Dakota, coupled with the fact that Hextall doesn’t want to admit that he was wrong in the first place to hire this guy.
I guess with that paragraph right there, the writing was certainly on the wall for Hexy getting axed. I just didn’t think that it would happen before Dave Hakstol got his ass kicked to the curb first. But I’m assuming that ownership probably went to Hextall to ask him to fire Hakstol first, Hexy said no and instead of taking that as an answer, they told him to pack his shit and get the fuck out.
Just read that line in the statement from Holmgren again. “It has become clear that we no longer share the same philosophical approach concerning the direction of the team”. That right there is an ownership group who knows that they are losing fans at a rapid pace, need to get into a “win now” mode with the core group of Giroux, Voracek and Simmonds all getting older. And then you have Ron Hextall who–I’ve always admitted has done a damn good job drafting and building up a prospect pool that was completely depleted before he got here–refusing to give up on his overly cautious and patient approach. It was on October 23 when Ron Hextall said to the media, “I’m a pretty patient guy, but things need to start getting better here”. Unfortunately for him, he remained too patient an entire month later and that ended up being the death of him.
Now what’s interesting here is that Hextall is gone but as of right now, the entire coaching staff remains intact. My thought behind that is that the Flyers know that they are getting rid of Hakstol at some point, but don’t want to end up in a situation where they don’t have a GM in place to target a head coach of the future. At this point, you can’t fire Dave Hakstol and just assume you can go out there and hire someone like Quenneville without a GM. He’ll take one look at this situation and say thanks but no thanks. So the Flyers need to bring in a new GM before they can really go after the coach they want moving forward. I think it’s safe to assume that unless the Flyers win the Cup this year, Dave Hakstol won’t be the coach of this team next season. I wish Dave Hakstol won’t be the coach of this team by the end of the day. But having to replace a GM and a coach at the same time in the middle of the season might be too much to handle at once. Best case scenario is Hakstol and Lappy get hit by the firing squad as well today and somebody like Kris Knoblauch or Scott Gordon take the reigns at an interim level for the rest of the season.
But yeah. Ron Hextall did a great job drafting and we’ll always have to thank him for landing Ivan Provorov and Carter Hart. But in the end, he was just an arrogant prick who thought he was so much smarter than everybody else and refused to ever admit when he made mistakes. He did absolutely nothing to help this team in the short term. Every move he ever made was intended to help the team 5-6 years down the road, while never telling the fans that the Flyers were in rebuild mode. Everybody knew a major change needed to come here to save this Flyers season but Hextall was too stubborn to make one. So if Hextall wasn’t going to make a change, then the Flyers were going to have to change Hextall by making him unemployed.
Either way, Dave Hakstol and Ian Laperriere might want to start dusting off their resumes here because if Hextall was the first to go, that means that both of those guys have to be following up next pretty shortly here.