Hextall: ‘Dave Hakstol is Our Coach and Will Remain Our Coach’
In the time following the Flyers ninth straight loss last Tuesday, GM Ron Hextall spent time defending his players and his coach. He doubled down on the coach again before Monday's game in Calgary, with the team on a 10-game losing streak.
"Dave Hakstol is our coach and he will remain our coach. Period," Hextall said. "I’ve said it over and over, and I’m not going to say it again."
It's almost the exact same statement made by Hextall last Wednesday.
For a fan base that's frustrated about, well, everything, it's not the words you want to hear. Hextall took it a step further when evaluating the last 10 games and how Hakstol has been in managing that.
"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."
Hextall has been very active in the last few days, at least in making comments. He made an impromptu postgame appearance Tuesday, and added to those comments on Wednesday. It continued on Monday, with Hextall addressing fans who think the team has given up.
"Somehow, I think people think there’s no urgency here and we’re okay with where we’re at," Hextall added. “We’re not okay with where we’re at. We’ve lost 10 games in a row and we’re not happy as an organization. There is not one player who’s happy. There is not one coach that is happy, and certainly no one in management is happy.
"In saying that, we know there’s enough ability on this team right now to win hockey games."
By all accounts, Hextall was frustrated with having to address this situation again. He's seemingly made clear that Hakstol is here for the long haul and that he believes in this team. But the results haven't changed and for a team that has lost now 10 straight games, the last four periods of play going back to Tuesday didn't show a team that has a lot of fight and passion for playing. It showed a team that had given up. Hextall scoffed at such a notion.
"Have you watched this team for the 10 games?," Hextall quipped. "Do you know how hard it is to go through a 10-game stretch and lose? It’s awful as an athlete. It’s the worst thing that can happen to you."
Saying this after a 3-0 loss to the Bruins on Saturday isn't going to make a lot of believers out of this fan base. But as he has in the last week, Hextall had an answer for that too.
"Boston played very well. At that point, we had lost nine games," Hextall said. "There’s a frustration level that comes into it. There’s a hell of a difference between frustration and quitting. This team has not quit."
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.