Where Are They Now: Dave Hakstol

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On May 18, 2015, former University of North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol shocked the college hockey world when he resigned from UND to become the Philadelphia Flyers 19th head coach.

“It’s been a goal of mine,” coach Hakstol told the media. “It’s a tough question to answer, when’s the right time to leave. I can tell you, the opportunity that Ron and the rest of the Flyers organization have presented here is the right opportunity, and a lot of it comes down to the time that I spent with Ron and other members of the staff here, and also the history and tradition and how much meaning that has in this city. And there’s an excitement about the group of players and some of the ones coming that plays into it.”

Hakstol left UND with a 289-143-43 (.649) record. In 11 seasons with UND, his teams made the NCAA playoffs every season during his tenure. Hakstol also led UND to seven Frozen Fours in those 11 seasons. His only crime, not winning a NCAA title. Yet, for some fans, that wasn’t good enough. Success aside, there was a small, vocal minority of fans that wanted Hakstol fired. Nothing he did was good enough.

Yeah, seriously.

In his first season in Philadelphia, Hakstol lead the Flyers to a 41-27-14 (.591) record. The Flyers qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and played the Washington Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Flyers gave the Capitals all they could handle but they were finally eliminated in six games.

Fast Forward to this Season

Through 32 games, the Flyers are in third place of the Metropolitan Division and are 19-10-3. They’re two points behind the Rangers and the Penguins.

During the 2016-17 season, the Flyers have faced their share of adversity. During the month of November, the Flyers went 7-7. The Flyers have a 4-8-0 record when trailing after throw periods. As of today, none of that really matters.

Currently, the Flyers are red-hot and on a 10-game winning streak. The last time the Flyers won 10 straight games, was 1985 and Ronald Regan was in the White House.

On November 25, 2016, the Flyers had lost two games in a row and were 9-10-3.

Just Prior to the 10-game winning streak, the Flyers were struggling. Coach Hakstol started sending messages to his players. Hakstol benched defenseman Shane Gotisbehere. The move caused a stir with Travis Hughes of SBN and he wrote this: Benching Shane Gostisbehere is classic over-coaching by Dave Hakstol.

Dave Hakstol is putting the Flyers in a position to lose this game tonight. Period. There’s a good Winnipeg team coming to town (yes, they are good), riding youth and speed and good goaltending to a 4-0-1 streak in their last five.

And now, for the second time in a week, Hakstol has benched an important player while lesser players see ice time — be it MacDonald or the untouchable Chris VandeVelde, who somehow has only been scratched once since Hakstol took the coaching job here while guys like Brayden Schenn, Nick Cousins and Michael Raffl sit.

If I had to guess, I’d say that Hakstol is a bit more qualified to coach the Flyers than Mr. Hughes. I don’t see his name anywhere in the HockeyDB. Right? Since benching Gostibehere, Hakstol’s Flyers have gone 11-3-0 (.785). Also, Gostibehere’s play has also picked up, he has scored a goal and six points. He’s also a minus-one. It would appear that Benching the Ghost might have been the right move.

Again, since taking over the head coaching reigns, Hakstol’s Flyers are 60-37-17 (.600). So, we’re not talking about some untalented hack with no abilities. Let’s let things play out and not freak out about every detail. Saturday, the Flyers will go for their 11th win in a row against the Dallas Stars.

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