Going 3-0-1 on a west coast road trip would typically welcome some pats on the back and a feeling of pride among fans. So, with the Flyers taking 7 of 8 possible points from their recent swing, the fanbase is ecstatic, right?
Not so much.
The “Fire Hakstol” contingent – one that had grown exponentially after the team dropped to 4-7-0 following a 6-1 home loss to the New York Islanders – has to be beside itself. Not only did Dave Hakstol save his job, but he couldn’t have done it at a better time. On Tuesday morning, the Chicago Blackhawks made a decision that reverberated throughout the hockey world:
The Chicago Blackhawks have relieved Joel Quenneville of his coaching duties and have named Jeremy Colliton the 38th head coach in franchise history.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 6, 2018
Quenneville finds himself in a prestigious group of free agent Stanley Cup winning coaches including Darryl Sutter, a two-time Cup-winning coach formerly of the LA Kings.
Should Flyers fans be upset? One could argue they should be. As Anthony previously reported, there was a feeling among some in the organization that a poor road trip could’ve led to Hakstol’s dismissal, and perhaps the firing of the GM who hired him, Ron Hextall. Guys like Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds – who have been rumored as potential trade assets – have to be breathing a sigh of relief. All of that said, there has to be some residual anxiety left over. After all, if the coach was four poor results away from being let go, how confident can he and his staff really feel in their job security? Could anyone really blame the players if they tune out the message in the locker room if another streak of mediocre results plagues the team in the next week? The team has five games in ten nights starting Thursday, one of which includes a matchup against the Blackhawks.
It’s now a “what if?” game. Would Ron Hextall have leaned upon a coach he was familiar with during his time in LA in Sutter? Could the simply serendipitous firing of Quenneville and a bad road trip from the Flyers have led Hextall to hire a previously successful coach?
I guess we’ll never know… Until the next winless streak.
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Kinkead: I find this fascinating: