Things aren’t great for the Flyers. They’ve lost eight games in a row. Chuck Fletcher fired Alain Vigneault and Michel Therrien on Monday morning, then a dog shit on the ice. Now Mike Yeo is tasked with hauling this lifeless husk of a team back into relevance.
Today the pair spoke to reporters in South Philadelphia, and I clipped the more relevant questions and answers from the session, for your reading pleasure:
Question about what’s different this time, since the last coach was fired –
Fletcher: The whole goal through this was I was hoping we could get some people back and get our group together and find out what we have. But we just keep digging a bigger hole right now. As a group, we have to find an identity. To me, our process has been off all year. I’ve asked Mike to come in. He’s a detail guy. He’s had some success in this league.
I just felt watching our team last night that we needed to make a change. We need to find a way to spark change with our group and in an ideal world we could have bought more time and waited, but I just felt like we couldn’t wait anymore.
You have a lot of games coming up, could the timing have been better?
Fletcher: Yeah, there is always hesitation. AV is a good coach. Mike Therrien is a good coach and a good friend. This is not what you’re looking for, but there is never good timing to do this. We’re all complicit. As I said last week, I’m the one who is ultimately responsible. At this point, we need to affect change. We need to play differently. Now is the time.
Did AV lose the locker room?
Fletcher: That’s a hard question. I don’t know that. I honestly don’t know that. I certainly know that he tried, and certainly you go back to the 19-20 season, his message was well received. We were a really good team. Right now, we have lost our way. That’s what we have to find out how good our group is. We have to get guys playing better, playing a little bit differently. Right now, I think a new voice is needed.
Are you beginning the hiring process right now?
Fletcher: No, I’m not starting any process right now other than trying to get this team back on track. I’ve spoken with Mike. He knows there are no promises going forward, but he has his hands on the wheel now. It’s his opportunity to help this team get going in the right direction. As I said last week, I still don’t know truly what we have here, what our group is. As we go forward, I think things will become clear on what we need to do. Going forward, the focus right now is not on interviewing people and rushing to hire a head coach. Right now, it’s to support Mike and get this team playing the right way. Then we can make the decisions we have to make at the right time.
Mike Yeo, on being in AV’s shoes once before, and what he learned:
Yeo: I learned that it sucks. Obviously, I’ve been on both sides of it. I have experience in St. Louis, which I think could help this year in terms of I was an assistant coach, took over that year and we were able to get things going in the right direction. Get guys feeling good about themselves, build a game that we were able to take into the playoffs, win a playoff round. I think I can lean back on that experience. When I was in Pittsburgh, I was an assistant coach for something similar that happened. We ended up winning a Stanley Cup that year. I’ve been on the other side and what that allows you to do is reflect and obviously since my last head coaching opportunity, I’ve had a couple years to reflect. I would say I have a different perspective in many areas, but I also have a lot of belief in some of the things I think that I’m strong at. This is an opportunity to prove that I’ve grown and I fully believe that I am ready for that.
Why did Michel Therrien also get canned?
Fletcher: Again, I don’t know if there is any playbook for this. You just go with what you see. I thought we needed a new voice and just thought it was time for this to happen. We’re going to work on finding someone to come in and work with Mike and Daryl (Williams) as well here over the next little bit if we can find someone to come in and help and help do some of the duties. Again, it’s just what I felt. It was a gut feeling.
Flyers vs. Avalanche tonight at home, then a three-game road trip up next.