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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