Holmgren-Scott Presser Wrap: Flyers Wanted More Results, Action from Hextall
With 24 hours passing between the time that the Flyers announced the dismissal of Ron Hextall as GM and the press conference with team president Paul Holmgren and Comcast CEO Dave Scott, you would think there would be plenty of answers.
For the most part, there wasn't. Holmgren deflected a lot of questions to the next GM, a hire that the organization wants done in "weeks, not months."
One thing was clear: Ron Hextall would not waver from his plan, and it is what cost him his job.
"Ron, give him credit: He was unyielding in his approach," Holmgren said. "Are there things he could have done to make the team better today? I don’t know. But he had his plan. He was sticking to it. You can slice and dice that any way you want.
"Ron put this organization in a good spot with the young players and our farm system. There is cap space which is a good thing. Having said that, I felt that it was in the best interest of the organization and time to look for a new voice and push us to the next level."
It didn't boil down to one individual aspect. Holmgren said coaching never came up and that Dave Hakstol's fate rests in the hands of the new GM.
It wasn't specifically about Carter Hart and his timeline. Holmgren noted that the agreed with Hextall on the timeline, but perhaps would be willing to give Hart a chance at the NHL level if he is making progress and deserves the opportunity this season.
Progress. That was the key word. This was Hextall's fifth season following his plan. Another mediocre start wasn't going to do it. In an organization where the brash move is typically made after a slow start or at the trade deadline in an effort to make a push for the Stanley Cup, the Flyers brass above Hextall felt like things weren't going far enough.
"We thought we needed to make more progress," Scott said.
Scott also mentioned the trade deadline and preparing for the opportunities that may lie ahead. It sounded an awful lot like the approach of the man sitting to Scott's right, the GM prior to Hextall who put the Flyers in a situation where they had no farm system and no cap space.
The organization does need a willingness to move forward and get aggressive when the time is right. But they don't need to fall back into the same situation as before by taking the same approach.
"I was an aggressive guy. Ron was more of a deep thought," Holmgren said. "Both approaches have good qualities. Both approaches have bad qualities. But we’re here today to do what’s right for the organization.
"In order for us to get to a better position, I felt it necessary to get a different voice in that chair."
For now, it's Holmgren in charge and capable of making decisions for the roster, though it sounds like things will remain the same until a new GM is in place. From there, who knows what will happen?
"The players know. The coaches know. It’s all about winning and we haven’t been winning enough games," Holmgren said. "We need to get back to work.
"The Flyers are a world-renowned organization and a banner franchise in the NHL. There will be lots of people interested."
Interestingly enough, one of the more logical internal options, Dean Lombardi, is not interested in the GM position. It assured that the next GM of the Flyers will almost certainly be an outside voice.
A new voice with an outside perspective typically brings in his own coaching staff and if the Flyers want a man of action, then other moves are sure to follow. No one is safe.
Depending on how long the Flyers carry on this search and how long it takes for action to be made, the Flyers may very well save this season and turn it into something of progress. They may also be forfeiting this season to get back on a track of winning games, which may be hard to do in the here and now because there is so much uncertainty.
That, perhaps, was the biggest problem with the press conference. This was a chance to provide some answers and establish a plan moving forward. At this point, it's anybody's guess what happens next. And that uncertainty is not healthy for this team moving forward.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.