Flyers

Does Joel Quenneville firing change anything with Flyers, Dave Hakstol?

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Does Joel Quenneville firing change anything with Flyers, Dave Hakstol?

Dave Hakstol isn't going anywhere, anytime soon. Let's get that out of the way first. But — and this is a big but — one has to wonder if this changes things at all.

The Blackhawks on Tuesday morning fired three-time Stanley Cup-winning head coach Joel Quenneville after losing their fifth straight game and being swept on their Western Canada road trip.

Quenneville is the second-winningest head coach in NHL history with 890 career wins and guided Chicago to the playoffs nine teams, the Stanley Cup Final three times and five Western Conference Finals.

But the Blackhawks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08 last season and acted quickly on Quenneville in a somewhat surprising move. It'll be interesting to see if Chicago's struggles were because of the coaching staff or simply because of its roster aging.

That said, there is a big fish now on the market with a résumé that many teams with coaches on the hot seat will be lining up for. The question is, should the Flyers be one of them?

Ask me this last week and I think the answer is clear as day: In a heartbeat. The Flyers were a complete mess before their four-game road trip, and there were valid reasons to look at Hakstol even if the players were playing with no emotion.

Whatever the reason was, the Flyers rediscovered their way out West and come back to Philadelphia with a newfound hope (see story). The wheels are back on the rails, which means Hakstol's job is most definitely safe.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall is a patient dude and Hakstol is his guy. With Quenneville fired, Hakstol now is the fourth-longest tenured head coach in the NHL. You read that right.

Even during the three-game losing streak's darkest point, a coaching change never really seemed like a realistic option — a personnel move probably would have come first.

That's neither here nor there. The Flyers are coming back from the West Coast riding high, and they earned the right for a little slack. But a new challenge awaits.

If the Flyers continue to play the way they have at home, it'll spiral out of control again. And now, there's a future Hall of Fame head coach on the market. I'm sure that changes things just a little.

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Flyers' Radko Gudas receives 2-game suspension, opening door for Philippe Myers

Flyers' Radko Gudas receives 2-game suspension, opening door for Philippe Myers

Radko Gudas was burned by his reputation Wednesday and it will cost him from playing in two of the Flyers' biggest games this season.

The NHL's Department of Player Safety handed down a two-game suspension for Gudas' high-sticking infraction to the head of Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov during the third period of the Flyers' 5-2 loss Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Gudas is classified as a repeat offender under the terms of the CBA and his history of such penalties bit him in this circumstance, as he'll miss Thursday's road game against the Canadiens and Saturday's Stadium Series game against the Penguins at Lincoln Financial Field. 

On top of the suspension, the Flyers' defenseman will also forfeit $81,707.32.

Here was the review and reasoning behind the decision from the NHL's Department of Player Safety:

While we agree with Gudas' assertion that this slash is not excessively forceful or violent, this is an intentional play by Gudas. A player who intentionally brings his stick down onto the head of an opponent with a two-handed slashing motion can expect to be penalized by the on-ice officials and, in most cases, be met with some form of supplemental discipline be it a warning, a fine or a suspension.

What causes this play to rise to the level of a suspension is Gudas' disciplinary history, specifically his history of similar behavior.

Prior to this incident, Gudas had been hit with suspensions of 10 games (2017-18), six games (2016-17) and three games (2015-16).

The 28-year-old has cleaned up his play significantly this season, becoming one of the Flyers' most reliable defensemen. Gudas owns a team-best plus-12 rating and his penalties have been down compared to years past. He also plays the Flyers' second-most penalty-kill minutes (159:16), while leading the team in hits (197) and blocking the third-most shots (101).

His absence opens the door for 22-year-old prospect Philippe Myers, who has played just one NHL game — his debut last weekend. It marks a huge opportunity for Myers to prove himself to the coaching staff and general manager Chuck Fletcher.

"Phil Myers can help this team win right now, too," Fletcher said Feb. 9.

"He's still a young man and really, his key time will be next year at training camp and earning a full-time spot for a full season. But right now, if we can get him some experience, practice seems great, being around the team is great, if he can get some games, that'll only help him as he prepares for next year."

The Flyers entered Wednesday six points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot with 22 games remaining. Two teams they're chasing in the playoff hunt are the Canadiens and Penguins, both of whom have 71 points compared to the Flyers' 63.

Meanwhile, Gudas wasn't the Flyers' only defenseman in trouble Wednesday. Robert Hagg was fined $3,091.40 for interference on Cedric Paquette during Tuesday's game.

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Scott Hartnell, other fan favorites highlight Flyers alumni game for 2019 Stadium Series weekend

Scott Hartnell, other fan favorites highlight Flyers alumni game for 2019 Stadium Series weekend

What makes the Stadium Series that much more fun is how it brings the families and alumni together for the weekend.

The Flyers' alumni showdown for this year's event should be plenty of fun.

On Wednesday, the roster was announced for the game, which will be held Friday at 7 p.m. on Penn's campus at the Class of '23 Arena. 

Many fan favorites will suit up, including Scott Hartnell, who has been a busy man since retiring in October. Hartnell was honored by the Flyers in December and was officially named an on-air analyst Wednesday for the NHL Network.

Here are the former Flyers that will play Friday against alumni from the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation.

Forwards

• Riley Cote, Brian Propp, Danny Briere, Todd Fedoruk, Scott Hartnell, Mitch Lamoureux, Dave Brown

Defensemen

• Brad Marsh, Joe Watson, Terry Carkner, Doug Crossman, Kjell Samuelsson, Jim Watson, Nick Schultz, Kimmo Timonen

Goaltender

• Brian Boucher

Paul Holmgren, Bob Kelly and Bill Barber are set to coach the team, while Bernie Parent, Dave Schultz, Bill Clement and Reggie Leach will be in attendance.

For fans interested in attending the game, tickets can be purchased right here.

Meanwhile, the current Flyers will also hit the ice Friday for a 6 p.m. practice at Lincoln Financial Field in preparation for Saturday's 8 p.m. game against the Penguins.

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