Flyers

Flyers

Ed Snider was a go-for-it guy, known for his immense competitiveness and passion.

The Flyers were always going for it under Snider — and fans loved it.

Paul Holmgren has always shared that vision. If something was broke, you fix it. Show the Flyers are going for it — take action. 

By doing so, the fans were happy and their voices were heard. They supported the team and bought tickets because, well, the Flyers met their demands.

Ultimately, fans drive this whole thing.

So we can think of all the theories for why general manager Ron Hextall was fired Monday morning.

But this wasn't as much about Dave Hakstol or the coaching staff. 

It wasn't about the players assembled or Hextall's past moves.

This came down to the moves Hextall never made, damning inaction that cost him his whole process.

Statements released by teams regarding major decisions typically provide fluff and no substance. However, a part of Holmgren's was forthright and telling about his decision on Hextall.

It has become clear that we no longer share the same philosophical approach concerning the direction of the team. In light of these differences, we feel it's in the organization's best interests to make a change, effective immediately. 

Change.

A fitting term on a day that could have been avoided if change was previously made.

Hextall became a bit too obsessed with the long game. At times, the present was blinded by his patience, a judicious approach that appeared to disregard what was unfolding in the now, in front of everyone's eyes.

 

That prudence probably soured on Holmgren. Because you can bet Holmgren and Comcast Spectacor chairman and CEO Dave Scott had a keen finger on the pulse of the fans during Hextall's run.

That's their job. This is a business and the fans are your prized investors.

The fans grew increasingly impatient with the GM's patience.

This season, the fifth under Hextall's watch, the Flyers were in last place of the Metropolitan Division at Thanksgiving for a second straight year. In many ways, they regressed, going from 21 points to 20 and a minus-2 goal differential to minus-11.

Currently, the Flyers have broken down in net and own an NHL-worst .880 save percentage. They've allowed the third-most goals per game at 3.57. Their power play is ranked 25th (15.7 percent) and the penalty kill 30th (69.7 percent).

These were problematic areas that went unaddressed in the offseason and remained untouched to date. No change, just trust within and push forward.

Some would call that patience and loyalty, others would deem it ignorance and unfit to run the general manager duties.

At the conclusion of last season, Hextall discussed pressure and its impact on his decision-making.

"We all have pressure," Hextall said in April. "Pro sports is pressure. There's pressure on all of us. Now how you handle that pressure, you better handle it right. My philosophy is I do what I believe is right.

"I'm not going to do something to make me popular. I'm not going to do something that's going to take away from the success of our team to put a few more people in the stands."

Hextall didn't feel the heat. He should have — it could have made a difference in a process that never quite went for it.

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