Flyers president Paul Holmgren and Comcast Spectator Chairman and CEO Dave Scott addressed the media for 20 minutes Tuesday in response to the firing of general manager Ron Hextall, and Holmgren spoke for another 15 minutes afterward.
Here are the top five takeaways from Tuesday’s press conference:
1. No one could succinctly explain the 'philosophical differences' within the organization
“Hexy in his time as general manager has put this organization in a good spot with the young players that are in place right now, our farm system, our prospect cupboard is full. There’s cap space, which is a good thing,” Holmgren said (see story).
“Having said that, I just felt in the best interest of the organization, it was time to look for a new voice with a different mindset that can push the team to the next level. Without getting specific, Ron was unyielding in his approach. Unyielding. He had his plans and he was sticking to them. You can slice and dice that any way you want.”
2. Despite the organizational differences, the decision to fire Hextall was made very quickly
When asked if the decision was made over time or was Hextall warned, Holmgren said, “It was a tough thing to go through [Monday]. Was he warned? No, not warned. I don’t know how Ron felt in the conversations we had. Was he ever told to fire the coach? No. Was he ever told to make a trade? No. Why even bother having a GM if you have to have those conversations.”
3. Holmgren will take over the hockey operations in the interim but will go outside the organization to find Hextall’s successor, and the timetable is weeks, not months
“Somebody’s got to do the hockey business right now while we’re in this search mode," Holmgren said. "I don’t believe Dean [Lombardi] has interest. I don’t think he’s at a point in his life that he wants to do that right now. I have a short list. Preferably, I would love to go outside our organization. If I’m picking, I can probably guarantee from outside our organization,” (see story).
4. Dave Hakstol will remain coach … for now
“He knows that we’re going to look for a GM obviously,” Holmgren said. “All I could offer to Dave [Monday] was my support and I said let me know if there’s anything I can do to help make you do your job better. I talked a little bit about his staff moving forward. He knows. The players know, the coaches know, we all know. It’s about winning and we haven’t been winning enough games lately.”
“I think we all like Hak. He’s a likable guy. I think he’s an intense guy that works hard at his job. I hate to keep kicking the can down the road, but that’s what I’m going to do. It’s up to the next GM,” (see story).
5. Losing is affecting the business side
“I personally feel our fans deserve better,” Scott said. “We have great fans and they’ve been patient. My vision is that we’ll invest everything that we have to and we’ll look at every opportunity to make it better. This is about winning hockey games. On the business side, we have so much going on as far as the transformation. At the same time, you have to win hockey games, too. Our attendance is good, but could it be better, sure.”
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