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5 takeaways from former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall's press conference

5 takeaways from former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall's press conference

Former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall addressed the media Friday morning at the Wingate by Wyndham hotel in Voorhees, New Jersey.

Here are five takeaways from Friday's press conference:

1. Hextall was blindsided by firing

"I didn't see this coming in any way. I certainly didn't feel any warnings, so I was shocked that I was done," Hextall said. "The only thing [Flyers president Paul Holmgren] said is that 'your vision, my vision aren't the same.'"

Holmgren said Tuesday that he didn't give Hextall any notice because, as Holmgren said, "If you're going to do that … what's the sense?"

Most of us were caught off-guard by Hextall's firing, and we heard it from the man himself. He was blindsided by it, and rightfully so. We didn't see it coming, and neither did he.

2. Hexy didn't believe the Flyers were at 'go time'

Hextall explained his vision as a three-stage plan. The first was cleaning up the salary cap, the second was the in-between of implementing young players and the third was "go time."

"I didn't feel right now that we were at 'go time,'" Hextall said. "I did feel like we were getting close. But I didn't feel like we were there yet. Some of the growing pains that we're going through this year with the younger kids, the defense — that's a young defense.

"It's hard to win a Stanley Cup with a defense that age. Again, I wasn't willing to trade a young player or prospect for a guy in his mid-30s that might help us this year, might clog us up down the road and his game is dropping. Philosophically, that's where I was at."

Some items to unpack: Hextall is right that the Flyers aren't ready to compete with the NHL's elite. He also mentioned there have been more growing pains than anticipated with the young players, specifically on the blue line, and he's right there.

We also received some insight into the philosophical differences between him and Holmgren and there was some minor shade thrown by Hexy — about trading for a declining player in his mid-30s (see story).

One other note, Hextall's comments about the defense is that he was in a position to fill it out with better veteran complements than what's here. He very well could have.

3. 'I don't run a country club'

Hextall basically laughed about the speculation that he controlled what players ate.

"I controlled the food and stuff?" Hextall said. "What?"

He said the team hired a dietician and between her and Flyers director of sports science Ben Peterson, healthy eating habits were constructed.

"The only thing I met up front, I said we want to be healthy," Hextall said. "After games, we want to eat anti-inflammatory food versus pizza, which is the opposite. So, yeah, we did change a few things like that.

"But I see some of the [rumors] coming out … ay-yai-yai."

Hextall also touched on his locker room principles.

"The locker room — I don't run a country club, I don't believe in it. I don't believe you win that way," Hextall said. "Watching out in L.A. how we did it, how [Bob Clarke] did it, I believe in having tight doors, I believe in the sanctity of the locker room, I believe when the players are in the locker room, it should be the players — that's when that team bonding [is built].

"After games and practice days, I did close the locker room to people — fathers and kids could come in, obviously, and brothers. But one day I walked in and a guy had four of his buddies in our lounge on a practice day. And I was like, 'This is a place of work.' Like, you guys go to work and don't bring your four buddies to work, right?

"So there were some things that went on that I didn't like and we changed some things as a result. But I like structure, I'm a structured guy, I believe in structure."

4. Proud of the groundwork

Hextall said he was "disappointed as hell" this season started the way it did but believes the Flyers as a whole are "poised to do something great."

"Quite honestly, I'm proud of my four and a quarter years here," Hextall said. "We worked hard — scouting staff, management team, minor-league coaches, all the players — we worked hard and I feel like we accomplished a lot.

"We created an analytics department, we created a sports science department, we had the gym built, we had the development area built. We accomplished a lot of things and a lot of those things don't show above the water.

"I feel like some of the results are starting to show themselves."

What Hextall did to sort of restart the Flyers, build a foundation and change their way of thinking was impressive (see story). But half the battle is finishing — knowing when to take it to the next level, which was the big dilemma within this whole situation (see story).

5. Why address the media?

Not many fired general managers hold media availability after being axed.

Hextall was classy enough to do it. It wasn't to vent or anything.

He said he wanted to do it because he felt he owed it to the media members, the fans and selfishly, for some closure.

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Flyers fans, root for Craig Berube's Blues in Stanley Cup Final and please don't debate the Brayden Schenn trade

Flyers fans, root for Craig Berube's Blues in Stanley Cup Final and please don't debate the Brayden Schenn trade

The 2019 Stanley Cup Final begins Monday night and of course there are some Flyers ties.

Seems only fitting, right?

Two of those ties are Blues head coach Craig Berube and forward Brayden Schenn.

In Philly, we're not too fond of people who once played or coached here and then do well elsewhere. It's just natural. Remember when some fans huffed and puffed about the curtain calls for Chase Utley in his August 2016 return, which featured a grand slam and solo shot for No. 26?

What are you doing?! He's one of them now!

For the orange and black faithful, it can be difficult to watch a former Flyer succeed elsewhere. It might make you wonder why that success couldn't be achieved in Philadelphia, where a Cup hasn't been hoisted by the Flyers since 1975.

But if Flyers fans need to take a rooting interest in this Cup Final between the Blues and Bruins, the decision is simple: Berube's bunch.

Is there any genuine reason to have a strong distaste for Berube? He took over for Peter Laviolette, who was fired three games into the 2013-14 season. Berube led the Flyers to the playoffs that season, which ended in a first-round exit via a Game 7 loss at Madison Square Garden. Then, following one down season, he was fired as former general manager Ron Hextall put his stamp on the team by hiring Dave Hakstol.

Berube played parts of seven years in Philadelphia. He was a tough dude (still is) and Philly will always have an affinity for tough dudes.

The Blues' goal song also has Philly origins (watch the video above) and does anybody want to see Boston win? St. Louis' run has been special. Under Berube, who took over Nov. 19 as interim head coach, the Blues have gone from the NHL's basement in early January to the Stanley Cup Final. This is their 51st season and they've never won a Cup. Why not get behind that?

And, most notably, let's not get worked up over Schenn by revisiting the June 2017 trade just because he's in the Cup Final. The 27-year-old is a good player. He scored a lot of power-play goals with the Flyers. But how much better would he have made the Flyers over these last two seasons? Does he make them a contender?

Schenn complemented talent and played a prominent role on a team not there yet. Hextall capitalized on Schenn's stock with a pretty darn good trade, acquiring two first-round draft picks (and, yes, Jori Lehtera — a throw-in by the Blues).

Those draft picks were used to select Morgan Frost (2017 — 27th overall) and Joel Farabee (2018 — 14th overall), two talented forwards turning pro in 2019-20.

Prospects are prospects until they prove themselves in the NHL, but these two look promising.

Meanwhile, this season, the Flyers got comparable goal production to Schenn's from 22-year-old rookie Oskar Lindblom.

Here's a look at the stat lines:

Schenn: 72 games, 17 goals, 37 assists, 54 points, 18:35 TOI

Lindblom: 81 games, 17 goals, 16 assists, 33 points, 13:45 TOI

If Schenn wins the Cup with the Blues, he deserves it. He's certainly helped them in two seasons. But the trade was made with the big picture in mind and nobody should lose sight of that.

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Bobby Clarke's former home, with incredible Flyers logo-shaped pool, is for sale

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realtor.com

Bobby Clarke's former home, with incredible Flyers logo-shaped pool, is for sale

Flyers fans, here’s the house of your dreams.

On this Memorial Day weekend, many in the area might be laying by the pool, but imagine laying by this pool.

If you’ve got $1.4 million and want to live in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, that can be your life.

This five-bedroom, five-bathroom home boasts, in the house description, that a former Flyer was once the owner. While it does not appear to be his current residence, Flyers legend Bobby Clarke has been quoted as saying he lived in this location, but moved after realizing the house was too private and he enjoyed having neighbors.

That’s good enough for me.

As for the house, it’s located in a private area of New Jersey and is just as beautiful on the outside. While the inside could use some updating, this could be the perfect project home for someone with a lot of cash. The backyard speaks for itself, with that tremendous pool, where you could party like it’s 1975, and tennis court. The inside also has tons of room for entertaining to go along with a beautiful kitchen and bedrooms with tons of closet space.

This home was, presumably, purchased by Clarke in 1982 for $350,000 and doesn’t appear to have had much work done on the inside. That being said, it looks like this house has incredible bones and could have the makings of something spectacular with a little elbow grease.

So, if you want to say you lived in the same house as an NHL Hall of Famer and have a pool that maybe even Gritty would come over for a dip in, this is the one for you.

Here are a few more photos from the listing.

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