VOORHEES, N.J. — Scott Gordon was back at Flyers Skate Zone as the team's annual development camp kicked off Tuesday. Following a morning session, Gordon made his way up to the media room wearing a long-sleeved Phantoms pullover.
He is head coach of the Phantoms again. In mid-April, he was told he would no longer be the Flyers' head coach after serving on an interim basis since Dec. 18. The Flyers hired Alain Vigneault as their new bench boss, creating a decision for Gordon following some disappointment of not landing the full-time gig with the big club.
How long did he mull over the opportunity to return as head coach of AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley?
"Not long," Gordon said.
"I kind of went into it with the expectation of that's where I was going to end up."
Gordon said he "didn't have any interest in being an assistant with the Flyers" and made that clear to Chuck Fletcher prior to the general manager's decision on the head coaching job. Gordon said there were "a couple of situations" regarding interest from other NHL teams, but no conversations about head coaching jobs.
Gordon was ready to be back in Lehigh Valley. After all, there's plenty of appeal to the Phantoms. Not only has Gordon had success in Lehigh Valley, but the Phantoms are also expecting a rush of young talent infusing their roster.
Names like Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, Matthew Strome, Maxim Sushko, Felix Sandstrom and Kirill Ustimenko are all potentially joining the likes of Carsen Twarynski, Mikhail Vorobyev, German Rubtsov and Mark Friedman, just to name a handful.
"Part of the thing that makes the job great down there is we do have some great prospects," Gordon said.
"It's something that has been building over time."
While Gordon would love to be leading the Flyers, he's impressed with the club's mostly new coaching staff and is excited to work with it. Vigneault, Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo all bring vast experience to the table. Vigneault has two Stanley Cup Final appearances on his résumé, Therrien owns one and Yeo hoisted the Cup in Pittsburgh as an assistant. Altogether, the trio has 2,512 games of NHL head coaching experience.
"All three of those guys have had levels of success in the NHL," Gordon said. "Pretty remarkable to have three quality coaches on one staff. It should be a good thing for the Flyers."
Gordon has also liked the additions of Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun, specifically because of what the two accomplished blueliners can do for Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere.
"As good as Provy and Ghost are, they're two veteran defensemen who have been in the league [only] three or four years," Gordon said. "Those guys, whether they end up playing together anymore or end up playing with Niskanen or Braun, they're playing with people that aren't cutting their teeth while they're still young in their careers. That's a huge thing for the team — guys that have been in the Stanley Cup Final, winning the Stanley Cup, that's huge for the development of the those guys."
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