Flyers

Flyers' Dale Weise staying home, waiting for a trade

Flyers' Dale Weise staying home, waiting for a trade

VOORHEES, N.J. — Dale Weise hasn’t gone to general manager Chuck Fletcher to ask for a trade, but with his skates hanging from his stall at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, it appears that Weise will be the next shoe to drop in Fletcher’s plan to reshape the roster.

Weise’s absence from Friday’s practice continued a bizarre situation in which the winger is technically on the team and the active roster, but nowhere to be found where it matters most. 

On Friday, it was confirmed that Weise has been asked to stay at home and wait for a trade to materialize. How and when that happens will be an interesting next development. Weise has cleared waivers twice — once before the season opener in Vegas, and again on Wednesday — meaning there’s not one team willing to take on his contract (signed through next season at $2.35 million).

In all likelihood, the Flyers would have to pick up a portion of that salary to help facilitate a deal, or offer a sweetener in the form of a draft pick to get a team to take Weise off the Flyers' hands.

How did it get to this point?

For one, Weise’s failure to understand his role. Former general manager Ron Hextall signed Weise on July 1, 2016, as an energy forward to bring a physical element while providing scoring depth in a bottom-six role. He came to Philadelphia following a season in which he scored 14 goals in 56 games with Montreal, but could never fit in with the Blackhawks with one assist in 15 regular-season games after he was dealt before the deadline.

That alone should have been a red flag for Hextall.

In late November, under former coach Dave Hakstol, Weise was under the impression he had a bigger role, working his way onto the second line alongside Nolan Patrick and Jakub Voracek. In early December, Weise was playing some of his best hockey as a Flyer, scoring three goals over a five-game stretch.

That all changed when Scott Gordon replaced Hakstol. Weise was relegated to a fourth-line checking role, which, let’s just say, he refused to embrace. In recent games at Washington and last Saturday in New Jersey, Weise played a combined 20:38 with a whole lot of nothing — no shots, no hits, no blocks and, quite frankly, no interest.

To make matters worse was Patrick’s disturbing admission: “He was really good at helping me stay positive through the slump and when everything wasn't going well. He's by far the best teammate I've ever had." 

The best teammate he’s ever had?

If Weise was this incredible teammate, then he would have spent the past two seasons leading by example on the ice as the hardest-working player on the team, and not tell a teammate all the cushy things he wants to hear when things aren’t going so well.  

As the saying goes, “Misery loves company.”

Even the media loved talking to Weise. He often would say the things that needed to be said following an embarrassing loss. But if Weise was exactly what the Flyers needed when he signed a four-year, $9.4 million contract, then he wouldn’t be at home waiting for a phone call.

“Obviously, I’ve talked to him,” Patrick said. “I know what the situation is. Things happen quick in pro sports. Obviously, it’s a tough one to swallow. He’s a good body like that. I just hope he gets to go to another team and gets a shot there.” 

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Flames look to avoid 2-game series deficit vs. Avalanche

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Flames look to avoid 2-game series deficit vs. Avalanche

The NHL-best Lightning were shockingly swept by the Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The NHL's second-best team the Flames are in some first-round trouble, too. Calgary is facing a 2-1 series deficit against the Avalanche with Game 4 Wednesday night in Colorado.

Below is the full schedule for Day 8 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can watch the entire playoffs on the networks of NBC. 

Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs (TOR 2-1)
Game 4, Eastern Conference first round
7 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars (NSH 2-1)
Game 4, Western Conference first round
8 p.m. ET | TV: USA | Live stream here

Calgary Flames at Colorado Avalanche (COL 2-1)
Game 4, Western Conference first round
10 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

Why Flyers did just fine with Alain Vigneault, not Joel Quenneville

Why Flyers did just fine with Alain Vigneault, not Joel Quenneville

It's uncertain how hard the Flyers went after Joel Quenneville or if the team was even in on the three-time Stanley Cup champion at all.

On the day Quenneville took the Panthers' head coaching job, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher appeared unflappable when asked about his level of disappointment with the news.

"I'm happy for Joel," Fletcher said April 8. "We're less than 48 hours since the end of our season and the process of identifying the next head coach of the Flyers will start today. We'll start the process.

"He's not available. I'm not going to speculate on names or people that may be available or were available or were available in past years. It's a big decision for the Flyers."

Backup plan or not, Fletcher didn't do too shabby with his big decision, tabbing Alain Vigneault as the Flyers' new head coach. 

Maybe there's some short-term memory with the outside perception of the hire. When you see Vigneault's name, many think of his final days with the Rangers. After four winning seasons, New York fired Vigneault last April as the team was ready for a fresh approach following a 25-point drop-off.

Well, the same happened with Quenneville. While he experienced a much longer and more fruitful run of success in Chicago, the situation eventually grew sour to the point in which new direction was wanted. Quenneville was fired 15 games into this season after his worst year with the Blackhawks in 2017-18.

Vigneault is not Quenneville. But he's no slouch, either.

The Flyers needed a coach with experience and got one.

Vigneault has led three teams to the Presidents' Trophy and two to the Stanley Cup Final. In 16 seasons as an NHL head coach, 11 have featured playoff berths, with eight of those teams advancing past the first round (see 5 takeaways).

He owns three 50-win seasons and eight 100-point seasons. The Flyers haven't won 50 or more games in a season since 1985-86 and haven't amassed 100 or more points in a season since 2011-12, when they last won a playoff series (see story).

"I think his track record speaks for itself," Fletcher said Monday. "He's had success at the junior level, had success in the minor leagues, and he's had success in the NHL. You can't have success at all those levels unless you're good at developing players and good at connecting with veteran players. He's a guy that gets his teams to play hard and gets his players to buy in."

And for Fletcher, what likely made Vigneault such an attractive candidate is the head coach's track record in Year 1 on the job. At Vigneault's previous three stops (Canadiens, Canucks, Rangers), each of his first seasons resulted in playoff bids and at least one series win. Overall, his combined record in those seasons was 131-89-26 with a .585 points percentage.

"Right now, it's about trying to continue to build our group and become as competitive as quickly as we can," Fletcher said.

Quenneville was clearly set on South Florida.

It's also clear why that didn't break the Flyers' hearts.

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