Flyers

Flyers prepare for post-Hakstol era

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On Sunday afternoon, Dave Isaac of the Courier Post reported that the Flyers had plans to fire Dave Hakstol on Sunday night or Monday morning, supplementing Steph Driver report on Broad Street Hockey from Saturday. On Monday morning Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer confirmed that the Flyers relieved Dave Hakstol of his coaching duties.

Short. Sweet. To the point. Thank you, Sam.

The Flyers released this statement on the matter:

Hakstol has been the Flyers coach since the 2015-16 season. In just shy of three and a half seasons, Hak has compiled a 134-101-42 record in 277 games. His teams have reached the playoffs twice but both resulted in a first round exit.

Ever since Ron Hextall was fired last month the writing has been on the wall for Hak – he was Hexy’s guy. New general manager Chuck Fletcher spent the better part of the past few weeks taking stock on what was at his fingertips – after a lackluster Canadian road trip he made the decision to move on from Dave Hakstol.

The players and leaders of this team feel like they are partially to blame for Hak losing his job.

Moving forward, Lehigh Valley Phantoms coach, Scott Gordon, has been promoted to interim head coach while the front office looks for a possible long-term solution.

Gordon is a one-time NHL coach, spending a just shy of two and a quarter years with the New York Islanders compiling a 64-94-23 record in 181 games. Since taking over as coach of the Phantoms, however, he has a 350-218-34 in 637 games. I’m not saying that Gordon is the long-term solution, but sometimes coaches don’t succeed in their first stop. Look at Terry Francona – as manager of the Phillies he had a 285-363 record in from 1997 to 2000. In his next stop as manager of the Red Sox he led them to two World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. Not enough? Look at Pete Carroll, fired after one season as the New York Jets head coach in 1994 only to coach a dynasty of a team in USC from 2001 to 2009 that won two National Championships. Upon his return to the NFL, he led the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl title. I’m not saying Gordon will get it right the second time, I’m just saying that not everybody gets it right the first time – he’s not alone there.

The most popular name for the next head coach of the Flyers is Joel Quenneville. Q, as he’s commonly known, is dream scenario for the Flyers. As a head coach he is a three-time Stanley Cup champ, what more can you ask?

Driver originally reported that the Flyers are interested in Coach Q.

She ain’t talking about Coach K, folks.

In Dave Isaac’s story from Sunday, he claimed his source said has been offered the position and plans to accept. Since then the reports have been refuted because the Flyers couldn’t officially offer him a position because he’s still technically under contract with the Blackhawks and Hakstol was still coaching the Flyers at the time. All of that considered, I still consider him to be the top target for Fletcher and the front office.

If Coach Q is the first option, then Mike Yeo is the second option. Yeo most recently coached for the St. Louis Blues, he was fired earlier this season after starting the season with a 7-9-3 record. He became the coach of the Blues in the middle of the 2016-17 season and led the team to a 22-8-2 record down the stretch and won his first round playoff matchup against the Minnesota Wild before losing in the second round to the Nashville Predators. The Blues missed the playoffs the following year.

From 2011-2016 Yeo coached the Wild and led them to three playoff appearances, never advancing past the second round. His time with the Wild overlaps with the Fletcher tenure, thus making him a candidate to be the next Flyers head coach.

If I had to rank the potential head coaches out of these three I would say it’s Quenneville, Yeo, Gordon. I love the idea of Q behind the bench, I can talk myself into liking Yeo and I’d be less than inspired by Gordon coaching outside of this season. I’m sure there are more coaching options out there, in fact, Fletcher said everyone is a candidate.

It sure is an interesting time to be a Flyers fan, that’s for sure. With a new man behind the wheel the possibilities for the Flyers future are seemingly endless. Here’s hoping he makes the right decisions.


You can follow Anthony Mazziotti on Twitter (@AntMazziotti) and e-mail him at anthonymazziottiwriting@gmail.com.

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