Flyers React to ‘Shocking’ News of Hextall’s Dismissal
Shortly after the Flyers took the ice for practice, the team released the news that Ron Hextall was no longer the team's GM. The news created waves on social media first before ultimately coming back to the players and coaching staff.
Following practice, Dave Hakstol reportedly held a team meeting regarding the news before players met with the media. The reaction was similar around the locker room. This was a shocking change.
"I don't think a lot of guys saw it coming," Claude Giroux said. "It's hockey. It's a business. As players, we don't control it. We've got to start playing like we can, play as a team, have fun doing it and get back on track."
"It was a shock for me definitely," Wayne Simmonds said. "I didn't expect anything of this nature. We've underperformed as a team and I think as players we've got to take it upon ourselves and right the ship."
"It's surprising," Jake Voracek said. "Obviously when someone gets fired it's surprising. It's something that the organization thought had to be done and they did it."
The head coach also felt the shocking impact of what the organization chose to do on Monday.
"It's a tough morning for all of us," Hakstol said. "Ron brought me here to do a job and I'm going to continue to focus on work on doing that job to the best of my abilities. We're not where we want to be. We have a better hockey team than where we're at record-wise. We've all got to own it and go out and do better."
The move on Monday morning certainly spoke volumes. Teams don't generally dismiss a GM midway through a season. The winds of change were stirring before Monday's decision to dismiss Hextall. Now they are whipping.
So what's next? A coaching change? A major shakeup to the roster?
"Anything can happen any given day," Voracek said. "I don't know what the next step is going to be, but we can tell that nobody's safe. It's all about winning."
"I don't control that," Hakstol said. "I feel a responsibility for what happened today. Nobody feels good about that. I've got a job to do. My job right now is to get our team ready to go and play a hockey game tomorrow and win a hockey game.
"I'm not looking over my shoulder. I never have. I never do. I focus on the job at hand. Those are decisions that are not up to me."
For now, Hakstol, Giroux and the rest of the Flyers move on and get ready for another game on Tuesday. From there, what happens is anybody's guess. One way to quell the possibility of changes is to win games.
"It's not a secret, we've got to be better as a team," Giroux said. "We need to start winning games. We know that, and it starts tomorrow."
"This is a great organization," Hakstol said, "that in the beginning I was excited to be a part of and today remain excited to be a part of. There's a lot of great hockey people in this organization and we all have a lot to live up to."
Hakstol's words show the magnitude of the situation. Hextall couldn't live up to the expectations of an organization that is proud of its generally successful track record. Hakstol and the players could also be next as a result of that.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.