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Respected writer applauds Ron Hextall, Dave Hakstol

Respected writer applauds Ron Hextall, Dave Hakstol

Remember those "Fire Hakstol" chants?

They were belted out by some fans at the Wells Fargo Center during the Flyers' ninth straight loss, a miserable 3-1 finish to the Sharks on Nov. 28.

What felt like the real low of this season so far forced general manager Ron Hextall to issue a state of the union address for his hockey club less than an hour after those chants were spouted into the air.

Including that moment, Hextall ever since has firmly defended and endorsed his head coach Dave Hakstol.

Hextall, a man of immense patience and a stay-the-course mentality, was not about to waver because of a group of disgruntled fans.

“If we were playing poorly, I’d be the first to say, ‘We’re playing poorly,’" Hextall said that night. "I would be. We are not playing poorly and to look objectively at our team right now and to say we’re playing poorly, no."

A day later, on NBC Sports Philadelphia's Philly Sports Talk, Hextall made himself especially clear regarding Hakstol's job security.

"He's the guy," Hextall said. "Dave Hakstol is our coach and he's going to remain our coach."

Maybe it wasn't what some fans wanted to hear, but Hextall didn't care.

And one well-respected writer, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, has been impressed with how both Hextall and Hakstol have responded. Here's what Friedman had to write Monday in his 31 Thoughts, a popular read among hockey people:

You’re always curious to learn how a new GM will react to a difficult situation, but I really liked the way both Ron Hextall (and Dave Hakstol) handled the “Fire Hakstol” chants and pressure in Philadelphia.

That organization has a historically short leash for coaches, but Hextall made it clear he wants to change that. He showed up in the dressing room to defend his coach, and, days later, passionately informed the media Hakstol wasn’t going anywhere. (The only thing missing from that burst was Hextall chopping down reporters with a goalie stick.)

Hakstol said he knows what he signed up for. The Flyers don’t admit it, but privately, word is they feel one year away from a true assessment of how good they are. Second, Hextall worked hard to convince Hakstol to leave North Dakota three summers ago, luring him to Pennsylvania with what is believed to be a six-year contract. He’s invested in his coach.

The Flyers fired Peter Laviolette three games into the 2013-14 season. They axed John Stevens 25 games into the 2009-10 campaign. And they got rid of Ken Hitchcock eight games into the 2006-07 slate.

There's definitely a history of short leashes, as Friedman mentioned.

But Hextall is not a guy that gets easily rattled by outside pressures. It probably makes him trust his evaluation and gut even more.

After the losing streak hit 10 games, the Flyers won three straight by sweeping their Western Canada road trip. Now they're back at the Wells Fargo Center for five games in a row, starting Tuesday.

A little more pressure at home sweet home.

h/t to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Tom Dougherty.

Eagles fan has plane with Super Bowl LII banner fly around Gillette Stadium

Eagles fan has plane with Super Bowl LII banner fly around Gillette Stadium

FOXBORO, Mass. — Eagles fans are still enjoying the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history. So they’re going to gloat a little bit.

Especially against the team they beat.

Since the Eagles are facing the Patriots in Thursday night's preseason game, it seemed like a good time for one fan to rub it in a little bit. So he hired a plane and told it to fly around Gillette Stadium for an hour in advance of the game, as you can see in the video above.

The banner, of course, features the final score from Super Bowl LII: 41-33. The Eagles had their own fun with the score earlier in the day (see story).

For years, opposing fans would tell Eagles fans to let them know when their team finally won a Super Bowl. Now that the Eagles have actually done it, fans have let everyone know. Repeatedly.

Don’t expect Eagles fan to become quiet about it any time soon.

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Eagles players troll the Patriots on social media

Eagles players troll the Patriots on social media

The Eagles have taken the chance to troll the Patriots one last time before they face the 2018 runner-ups. Amid the trash talk on social media from fans, the players have joined in and their troll level is simply unrivaled. 

It’s clear that the champs are just as excited as you are to take the field against New England. 

Here are some of the wonderful posts shared by your Super Bowl LII champions:

Jalen Mills and Stefen Wisniewski took the opportunity to point out that, despite their best attempts, the Patriots were unable to collect a sixth banner to hang at Gillette Stadium.

Malcolm Jenkins took some inspiration from Allen Iverson to share a photo of his step-over moment from the Super Bowl, when he hit Brandin Cooks. 

Rodney McLeod also took to Twitter to celebrate his nope moment with Cooks, when he tried to unsuccessfully hurtle over McLeod. 

You know Lane Johnson had to get in on the action, too. 

It seems that the team is relishing taking one last jab at the 2018 losers before the new season begins. Who are we kidding, the Eagles will never stop trolling the Patriots and we wouldn’t want them to.

More on the Eagles