Rob’s Rants have been an Eagle-free zone for the past 10 weeks and clearly, that isn’t changing anytime soon. Let’s hope we can keep this run going well beyond Super Bowl Sunday and into the offseason. But there is one Philadelphia team that has not escaped the wrath and it’s not the Sixers or Phillies.
The Flyers have been mired in a serious funk of late. They lost their eighth straight Monday, another heartbreaker at the hands of the Penguins. Their inability to hang on to leads and their lack of scoring contributions from anyone not named Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier or Jakub Voracek is a major issue. Despite good goaltending from Brian Elliott, this team continues to disappoint.
But even more unacceptable than the lack of scoring balance and late-game collapses are the comments from head coach Dave Hakstol. Exhibit A comes after his club blew a two-goal lead at home on Black Friday versus the Islanders.
“You’ve got to evaluate it for what it is," Hakstol said last Friday. "I think in seven of our last 10 we’ve gotten a point. Five of those are shootout or overtime losses.”
I’m not one who believes in flipping tables and calling players out after every loss, no matter how bad the defeat. That act grows old real quick with professionals in 2017. The days of Mike Keenan are gone. However, there is a fine line between setting fire to your dressing room and Hakstol’s postgame rationalizations. Publicly, he is a monotone, work-hard, muck-and-grind, generally-say-nothing type of coach. And that’s fine as long as he can motivate his players. Clearly, that’s not happening. In both losses to the Islanders, the Flyers were caught asleep in the defensive zone in the 3-on-3 overtime. It’s bad enough something like that happens once but the very next game? They are puck-watching while the other team scores the game-winner. That is discipline.
Taking solace in getting seven points in your last 10 games is not just coachspeak, it’s irresponsible and sends a weak message to the players and the Flyers' devout fan base. Ron Hextall, a very patient man, went out on a limb when he hired Hakstol, who had no previous NHL coaching experience. So it will be interesting to see how much rope Hextall gives Hakstol if this continues. But as the old saying goes: It’s getting late early.
We’ve certainly seen our fair share of touchdown celebrations with the number of times the Eagles have found the end zone this year. And ever since the NFL loosened up the reigns on post-touchdown fun, players and teams have gotten quite creative. Some love it, some hate it. This debate is pretty simple. If your team’s the one celebrating after a score, you love it. If it’s the opposition doing the choreography, you don’t.
For all the bluster, the Woody Hayes glasses, satellite camps, the bad khakis hiked up to his breasts and the thousand-yard stares, Jim Harbaugh has come up real small at Michigan. They’ve lost to Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State this year. All quality teams, but losing to all of them ain’t cutting it. In his three seasons in Ann Arbor, he’s 0-3 vs. Ohio State and 1-7 versus top-10 teams. Maybe lose all the antics and deliver a better offense.
I’ve noticed several NFL broadcasters, but in particular, Troy Aikman use the term “young rookie.” With the exception of a Brandon Weeden, Chris Weinke or Drew Henson — who came back to football after failed baseball careers — aren’t all rookies young?
Christmas car gift
Christmas and holiday commercials are now in heavy rotation. There is one in particular that has driven me nuts for years. The husband or wife will come downstairs and be escorted outside, only to be presented with a brand new car with a bow on the hood. Maybe it’s me, I didn’t come from money, but I have yet to meet anyone who’s been given an extremely pricey, luxury car for Christmas. Who is this target audience?