Update, 11:15 a.m. Monday: The Flyers have fired GM Ron Hextall.
The Flyers snapped a season-worst four-game losing streak this week but went 1-2-0 with a pair of lopsided losses.
Let's look at some observations:
• The way in which the Flyers lost to the Maple Leafs was bad, but that game felt like a loss before the puck was dropped.
Did anyone expect Calvin Pickard to quiet the NHL's fourth-highest scoring team?
It would have been nice to see more resistance, pushback and effort from the Flyers, but it's deflating when you're down 3-0 before you can blink. When you don't have a chance from the jump, coming back is impossible. The Maple Leafs scored three goals in the game's opening 7:44 and after that, the Flyers were done.
• I want to know what Flyers general manager Ron Hextall's rock bottom is. I really do.
At what point does Hextall look at this team and say enough is enough, it isn't working?
For most, Saturday night's 6-0 embarrassment in Toronto would have been the final straw.
Dave Hakstol does not deserve all of the blame for what is going on here. Hextall deserves a huge portion of it. The Flyers' penalty kill is an eyesore, and Hextall has not held Ian Laperriere accountable or brought in proven NHL players who can kill penalties. The Flyers' goaltending situation is pathetic. While, in theory, Hextall did the right thing by using a stopgap until Carter Hart is ready, he didn't execute it in reality. The Flyers trusted a goaltender in Michal Neuvirth who has consistently been injured his entire career to be part of a tandem with 33-year-old Brian Elliott, who's been fine when healthy. Sure, injuries are part of the game, but it's not like we can say we couldn't see them coming. Hextall has to do something about the NHL goaltending situation as they've now used five goalies this season.
I've been thinking about this a lot since Saturday night's debacle ended, trying to process everything and form a measured opinion rather than one strictly made on emotion. I don't necessarily believe Hakstol is the answer here. This team just has no consistency, no structure and too often, just no fight. There are times it seems the players are not playing for their coach and considering there are actually viable options on the market, it's hard to justify staying on their current course.
But, and this is a huge but, are we pointing the blame toward the wrong person? Perhaps Hakstol isn't the big problem here. Hextall has done a great job digging the Flyers out of salary cap hell and restocking their farm system. There are a lot of underlying positives of the Hextall era, but he has ignored the NHL team for far too long and this season was supposed to be a "step forward." It's been anything but that. In many ways, it's been one enormous step back.
It feels like change is on the horizon. A coaching change will not solve the organization's negligence of the goaltending position and penalty kill, which both fall on the GM. A new voice behind the bench may help solve the consistency issue and inspire the players in the room. But perhaps we're pointing all our anger at the wrong person; perhaps it's time to start putting Hextall under the microscope.
Perhaps we'll see shuffling up the assistant coaching staff, perhaps we'll see a major trade, perhaps the head coach will go. Perhaps we'll be talking about this again next week. We just don't know what Hextall's breaking point is with mediocrity.
• Hey, there are some positives for the Flyers … right?
Sean Couturier looking like himself again is a good one.
Here's a look at his turnaround from a slow start:
First 11 games: 3 goals, 0 assists, 3 points, minus-3.
Last 12 games: 7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points, plus-3.
Couturier clearly needed to shake off some rust and find his legs after missing a chunk of training camp and the preseason with a knee injury. He's so important to the Flyers and at least they have that going for them.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.