In Philadelphia, PA, Flyers fans are getting antsy. Real antsy. Currently, the Flyers are on a 10-game losing streak and Flyers fans want him fired now. During the 10-game losing streak, the Flyers have managed to pick up five loser points (0-5-5).
After the ninth consecutive loss in a row, the Flyers fans chanted “Fire Hakstol.” Those fans aren’t alone. Most of the writers in the Flyers hockey media are on the fire Hak bandwagon, too. Based on the roster the Flyers have, I think more of the blame should lay on the shoulders of the general manager.
Hakstol has the support of the general manager, and that will help him in the locker room. It won’t help him in the stands if the results don’t improve, however. Nothing will help him in that case, because an organization that has recently discovered patience still doesn’t have an unlimited supply, even though the phone no longer blinks with yet another call from Malibu. (Bob Ford, Philly.com)
Flyers fans are really going to be unhappy after the general manager gave his besieged head coach the seal of approval:
“Dave Hakstol is our coach and he will remain our coach. Period,” General Manager, Ron Hextall said. “I’ve said it over and over, and I’m not going to say it again.
“I think he’s done a good job,” Hextall said. “….We’re in a rut. They happen throughout a year. You can’t value and judge your team on 10 games or 15 games or 20 games. It’s a long season and you’re going to have your ups and downs.” (Sam Carchidi, Philly.com)
Last season, the Flyers won 10 games in a row and still missed the playoffs.
Here in Grand Forks, ND, I’ve seen this play before. It’s like a bad case of Deja Vu. When Hakstol was the head coach at North Dakota, there was a yearly fire Hakstol thread on Sioux Sports after UND had been eliminated from the NCAA tourney. Notice I said NCAA tourney.
Back in 2013, I was a guest on Jarrod Thomas’ radio show (1310 KNOX) after I had written a blog post defending Hakstol’s record. UND had lost in the regional final to Yale and there were fans wanting Hakstol fired because his team couldn’t finish the deal. I spent a half hour on the show defending Hakstol. I’d do it again, actually.
Of course, the NHL is a different animal. And if and when Hakstol is dismissed, he’ll get another job quickly. Let’s just say, Hak will have a fat check whether he’s the coach of the Flyers or not. He’s in the third year of a five-year contract that will pay him 2 million a year. As I write this, the Flyers have defeated the Calgary Flames 5-2 to end a 10-game losing streak. I guess we can all step off of the ledge at least for another day.
I don’t know how many times I’ve seen comments from Flyers fans saying, Hakstol has no idea what he’s doing. I think those fans are a bit short-sighted. In 11 seasons at UND, Hakstol was 289-143-43 (.654). I am not saying that the Flyer nation’s concerns about Hakstol aren’t warranted. But, let’s refresh ourselves with Dave’s record. His only crime, not winning an NCAA title.
Years at UND: 11th
NCAA Appearances: 11
NCAA Frozen Four Appearances: 7
NCAA Championship Appearances: 1
WCHA Final Five Championships: 4
WCHA MacNaughton Cup Championships: 2
Think about this for a minute, if Hakstol had returned to UND for a 12th season, he’d have 300 wins. Easily. You don’t win almost 300 games as a head coach being a talentless hack. I’ll be following this story as it develops.