Time for a Change: What Needs to Happen Now After Islanders 5, Flyers 4

Photo Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

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Someone has to say it.

It’s gotten to the point of ridiculousness to be honest, and now someone needs to just come out in public and put the words on the table and flip the sand timer over.

The Flyers need a change.

And I’m not just talking about a nominal change like calling up the speedy Danick Martel to add a little juice to the offense, I mean something big. Something impactful. Something that would grab headlines.

It could be a big trade, but with the roster already one of the youngest in the NHL, that wouldn’t make much sense.

So, maybe the organization needs to look elsewhere. Maybe it needs to look at the coach.

And I know I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

Even the players are starting to subtly suggest that they are in a stagnant pattern of systemic hell that is stunting growth of such a young team rather than fostering it.

Brian Elliott has been around the sport for a long time, so when he, as one of the team’s elder statesmen says something that can be interpreted as a warning shot across the coach’s bow, then maybe someone higher up needs to take notice.

So here, Ron Hextall, I will serve up his comment for you on a platter to do with it as you will:

“It’s the definition of insanity when you keep doing the same thing over and over again. We’ve got to change some things and we’ve got to talk about it, because these are big points and they can come back and hurt us.”

Now, he said that in response to a question about poor play in overtime – which bit the Flyers in the back side again yesterday for their seventh straight loss, but Elliott’s feelings – which are shared by others in the room by the way – aren’t just specific to overtime.

You don’t lose seven straight games because of one repeated problem in overtime. The problem runs far deeper than that.

Although there is the coach trying to put a happy spin on the same recurring problems after every loss.

“I think it’s seven out of our last 10 that we’ve gotten at least a point,” Dave Hakstol said. “Five of those are OT or shootout losses. So again today it was a close hockey game all the way through.”

Did this guy seriously just try to spin a seven game losing streak into the positive of garnering points in seven of the last 10 games?

I jokingly said this BEFORE THE FLYERS EVEN LOST YESTERDAY:

And then he did. I couldn’t believe it.

And why, even though it’s factually correct, can you not go to this well coach? I’ll give you a list after the jump:

OK coach. Here’s why that “points in 7 of 10” doesn’t fly with anyone:

  1. Your team is in last place in the Metropolitan Division.
  2. You have played 23 games and have only won consecutive games once.
  3. You have blown a two-goal lead four times this season.
  4. You’ve been shutout five times this season.
  5. You’ve only won eight games. Only two teams have less – Buffalo and Arizona. and the Coyotes beat you head-to-head, for what it’s worth.
  6. The Power Play is mediocre – ranking in the bottom half of the league at 18.9% (17th)
  7. The Penalty Kill is dreadful – it’s still 28th in the league, but the percentage went down again yesterday to 74.7%.
  8. Your top line excluded, the other skaters on your team have combined to only score 35 goals in 23 games.

Maybe Hakstol recognizes it himself and is trying to go into spin control mode as an effort to save his own hide – which is why he says ridiculous things like they have seven points in the last 10 games.

But even if that’s the case, it’s only window dressing because he hasn’t been able to solve the real problem.

So what’s the real problem?

The problem is this team is not well-coached for the NHL game. There are far too many odd-man rushes – Wayne Simmonds lamented that following the loss to Vancouver on Tuesday. And he wasn’t just talking about 2-on-1s… he went so far as to say there are too many 4-on-3s.

That means that it’s the system that is allowing forwards to get caught deep. It’s a system where defensemen don’t know the right time to pinch. It’s a system where forwards don’t have the time necessary to get back and help.

It’s a system that is broken.

All the flash and speed the Flyers showed with a hot start is now missing. Hakstol was a one-trick pony this season. He had a great idea to start the season, it worked for awhile, but then the league caught on to what the Flyers were doing and adjusted… and the Flyers haven’t adjusted back.

Yeah, they’re still getting their shots, so their advanced stats don’t look terrible, but the problem is, the Flyers are too small and trying to play a possession-oriented game.

This is a two-fold issue. This one falls on the coach for not instituting a system that befits his roster but it also falls on the General Manager for putting together a team that is too small (they are the third-smallest team in the NHL).

This isn’t asking for a return to the old days when they were big, plodding, bruising players – that doesn’t work in today’s NHL at all.

But, another of Simmonds’ laments has been that guys aren’t getting in front of the net. They aren’t going into the greasy areas to get loose pucks and score goals. Heck, most goals are scored in and around the net. Aside from Simmonds and Sean Couturier, who’s going there? Nobody.

Some of that might be on the players for an unwillingness to go there, but the rest of it is on the coach. He has to motivate and instruct his players to get there.

And if he is, and they aren’t listening, then it might be time for a different voice.

Ask yourself, have young players progressed at all under Hakstol’s guidance?

Shayne Gostisbehere has taken a step backward. Travis Konecny can’t seem to break through. Nolan Patrick looks a little lost (although his sample size is small). Travis Sanheim shows flashes, but also looks uncertain at times. Jordan Weal has been a disappointment. I can go on and on.

It’s likely that whatever message he’s touting is not getting through.

Look, the Flyers are competitive. They may have lost 15 of 23 games this season, but with the exception of a couple, they could have just as easily won about a dozen of their losses.

So, they aren’t the worst team in the NHL.

But they are a team that looks the same year-after-year under Hakstol. And while GMs are usually given a longer window than three years to shape a team, coaches are not.

NHL coaches have been fired for a lot less than the product we are seeing on the ice from the Flyers right now, who haven’t lost this many games in a row since 2007-08.

And yes, there is an argument to be made that these Flyers are rebuilding and patience should be had much like it was for the 76ers.

But there was no talk of rebuild here. Hextall has said that he has thought he had a playoff team before each of the past three seasons.

If he had come out and said, “Hey, we’re rebuilding and this is going to take time,” we’d be having a different conversation right now.

But his expectation was for better. And it’s just not happening.

A change is needed. Soon.

 

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23 Comments

  • Jason myrt from the barn November 25, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Give the Flyers some slack. They are in a rebuilding mode like the Sixers were 4 years ago.

    Reply
    • Danny November 25, 2017 at 10:52 am

      You can’t rebuild with a team that small . There is still big teams in the west that make the playoffs and go deep with a perfect mix of size and speed. We are too small to really compete.

      Reply
    • Dead Snider November 25, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      The Sixers got slack because they had a plan that works in the NBA, and they followed it to the point of becoming a national laughingstock.

      The Flyers aren’t trying to lose games, and even if they were it would be much less likely to work in the NHL.

      Reply
  • Saint Nick November 25, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Flyers stink . Especially the goalie he really stinks

    Reply
  • Toe Blake November 25, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Here’s what needs to happen…
    Fire Holmgren
    Fire Hextall
    Fire the coach

    Reply
  • 4 for 4 November 25, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    How is Eytan an Eagles fan since he’s from NYC/CT?

    Reply
    • Joe younes November 25, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      The same way Cataldi and Morganti are

      Reply
    • Darnell jones November 26, 2017 at 8:43 am

      Bro, when you got a big ass dick like Eytan does, you can do what ever the fuck you want.

      Reply
  • Capt Clueless November 25, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    You are right. Coaches have been fired for a whole lot less than this. Look. Lavy was fired after only three games a couple of seasons back…
    This team has lost their confidence in this system. Other teams KNOW this system and know how to beat it. The college experiment has run the course, and it’s time to go.
    Not to compare apples to oranges, like most have been doing, but Brett Brown at least tried to mold and shape the Sixer players on the court. Hak doesn’t even seem to do that. Phillies have left go of coaches for losing parts of the season. Hell, Reid was left go of the Eagles for losing too much… and the same with Chip Kelly, which to add to that sorry excuse for a coach, I have heard that he has landed back where he started… head coach of the UCLA Bruins Football team.
    No. I do not accept how this team is being handled, and I want Hak the Hack gone.

    Reply
  • Pelle Lindbergh November 25, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    I’m pretty certain they hit a wall

    Reply
    • Whiz Wit November 27, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      That ain’t right.

      Reply
  • Adam Aron November 25, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    how much turkey did gagano eat on thursday? hes really fat so probably a lot

    Reply
  • Jason Myrt November 25, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Flyers are 2-3 years from contending for the Cup provided Carter Hart develops on the same trajectory he has been on.

    Reply
    • Joe younes November 25, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      You’re on fucking drugs

      Reply
      • Darnell jones November 26, 2017 at 8:44 am

        Go back to Iran you towel head fuck.

        Reply
  • Josh Innes' personal trainer November 25, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    what the fuck is wrong with josh harris’ kid? He looks like he was conceived by Steve Buscemi and Tiny Tim

    Reply
  • 1488 November 25, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Any comment involving the (((nose berg))) people, you know who, will be removed from this website. The goyim know. DailyStormer.hk

    Reply
  • Oven Dodger November 25, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Oi vey shut it down!

    Reply
    • Darnell jones November 26, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Too soon.

      Reply
  • Hockey Rules November 26, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Just kidding. It sucks.

    Reply
  • Kyle’s Scott’s thoughts November 26, 2017 at 8:47 am

    This is a trap game. Bears are guna establish the run, and put 8 in the box. This is a parady League. This is also a quarterback driven league. And this is a passing league. Any given Sunday. It’s a game of inches. I love warm loads on my back , neck and chest.

    Reply
  • B L M ! November 26, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Disgusting how racist those pigs are at espn and abc. You see the headline on their nfl page today? “Larry Fitzgerald owners”? Like he’s the white mans property? They already did a mock sl@ve auction earlier this year! Boycott these racist pigs!

    Reply
  • Globe troller November 26, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Hak should be removed and he should be the head scout.

    He evaluates talent very well. Leverage it.

    As a coach he is flat, stoic, arrogant and out of his league.

    55% win rate since he got here. Time to clean house.

    Make Simmonds the captain and Giroux an alt. G is not cut out to be a leader. Just because the best player does not automatically make you the captain. He should be left to play his game. He was better when he wasn’t the captain.

    Reply
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