And just like that, it’s all over. Of course it’s about 4 years late, but Robert Clarke has resigned. Ken Hitchcock’s gone with him, although less willingly.
John Smallwood wonders in the Philadelphia Daily News if this really changes anything at all:
John Stevens, who replaces Hitchcock, was the Phantoms’ head coach for the past six seasons before being named a Flyers assistant in June. He was a third-round pick of the Flyers in the 1984 draft.
Paul Holmgren, who takes over as interim general manager, has been the assistant general manager since 1999 and is a former Flyers head coach and player.
If a new philosophy is needed for the Flyers to be successful in today’s NHL, the guys taking over are still very much indoctrinated in the old one.
Now that I’ve written that, I’m thinking it’s 21 years overdue – at least. The Flyers had some of the best teams of the mid-80s, but kept getting mowed down by Gretky’s Oilers.
20 years later, we’re still getting mowed down by Speed and Finesse.
The Organ-eye-zation was built in the Image of Bobby (not Robert) Clarke. And I mean the entire franchise, up and down the line from the minors on up. We were so enamored of Clarke (some, like Ed Snider, more than others) that he got a Free Pass to let this franchise decline into one of the worst in the NHL.
While I’m sure John Stevens will give it his best, what can we reasonably expect from this odd assortment of players? Nothing this year, so I’d start Right Now rebuilding by dumping what we don’t need: Hatcher, Forsberg, Rathje, Sanderson, Knuble and Esche. We might be able to get value in return, some young fast legs.
And for once we need to quit griping about goaltending as we’ve done since Ron Hextall took us to game 7 All Those Years Ago. The players in front of these guys have looked lifeless since the Lightning and Martin St. Louis zapped us in 2004. How can it be we are even more slow now?