Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
There are guys who plant the seeds and there are guys who harvest the crops. Babcock and Julien? They’re harvesters. And right now what this team needs more than anything is a planter.
The Flyers are, conservatively, two or three years away from being a competitive team. That’s the time frame needed to develop Robert Hagg and Shayne Gostisbehere and Samuel Morin and Mark Alt into reliable NHL defenders, and to figure out where Taylor Leier and Nick Cousins and Petr Straka fit into the picture up front.
It’s going to be a group that requires patience during the next few years, and also the finesse to meld those kids into a core that includes established veterans like Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek.
That’s where a nurturer like Terry Murray might fit in.
from the Philadelphia Flyers,
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall held a conference call with the media on Friday morning following the announcement that the club has relieved Craig Berube of his head coaching duties.
Below is a transcript of the call...
When do you want to have a new coach in place?
That’s a good question. I’m not going to fast track anything here. I would like to have a guy in place by the draft. I guess the goal, but I’m not going to do things quickly. We’re going to do our due diligence and look at essentially the whole landscape, and come up with the coach that we feel is the right guy. I’m not going to do something in the next couple of weeks for sure.
Do you need a guy with NHL experience?
Well, I think in a perfect world that’s one of the things you look for, but that’s not mandatory. Again, we’re going to look at every candidate we feel merits looking at, and we’ll go through it from there. Again, is it nice, yes… is it imperative, I’d say no.
How much did the relationships between Berube and some of his players play into your decision?
I’m not one of those guys that necessarily looks at the players and are the players happy or are they players unhappy. I think in the end a coach’s job is to get the most out of his players, and in the end that’s the conclusion that I came to, was that that wasn’t the case. I will say this – Craig Berube is a good friend of mine, he’s a terrific man, and the professional side of this I have an obligation to the organization to do what I think is best, and that’s what I did. Obviously there’s a personal side here and a man lost his job here, and no one obviously likes that.
via the Philadelphia Flyers,
The Philadelphia Flyers have relieved head coach Craig Berube of his duties with the club, according to general manager Ron Hextall.
Berube was the 18th head coach in Flyers history and was named to the post on October 7, 2013. He recently completed his second season as head coach and leaves the position with a record of 75-58-28 (.553).
Prior to being named head coach, Berube spent six seasons as a Flyers assistant. He has spent 18 seasons with the organization as a player, assistant coach and head coach, doing all three with both the Flyers and Phantoms.
The team will begin a search for a new head coach immediately.
Flyers GM Ron Hextall is meeting with the media now...
added 3:11pm, Hextall video below on Berude...
from Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inguirer,
If the Flyers fire Craig Berube this week - and the drumbeat emanating from Ice Station Groundhog is certainly familiar - the lucky new coach, whomever he is, will be the team's 10th in the last 20 years.
It's quite a list, traveling all the way from Terry Murray to Berube, with station stops at Wayne Cashman, Roger Neilson, Craig Ramsay, Bill Barber, Ken Hitchcock, John Stevens and Peter Laviolette.
Here's the funny thing about the coaches on that list, and it tells you more about the nature of the franchise than it does about the respective abilities of the coaches or the quality of the teams with which they were entrusted.
None of them left with a losing record.
Think about that for a moment. If general manager Ron Hextell holds to tradition - and there is no tradition like Flyers tradition - he is going to fire Berube and the team will have parted ways with nine straight coaches who were .500 or better on points percentage. I would challenge anyone to find another franchise in professional sports that went through as many coaches in a 20-year span and never fired a loser.
Well, Ed Snider always said he wanted the franchise to make history. This record will stand for a while.
If Hextall really wants to send a message to the players and the entire organization, he will stand in front of the microphones Wednesday at his season-ending news conference and give Berube a contract extension. Berube isn't the problem. The problem is believing that a little tinkering with the roster and a new coach will fix things.
from Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News,
“I still believe in myself and think I can bring a lot to the team. I think to produce you need a little bit of time on the ice and you get opportunities. I didn’t feel I really got that this year.”
-Vinny Lecavalier on exit day for the Philadelphia Flyers. Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull has more from Lecavalier.
What little unwritten rule of sportsmanship did Chris Kunitz break on Sunday that sparked an unruly battle between the benches between the Flyers and Penguins?
The Flyers did win the game, 4-1.
from Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Del Zotto made $1.3 million this season. It's a big trim from the $2.9 million he earned last season. He obviously isn't at Drew Doughty's level ($7 million), but he's closer to a James Wisniewski ($5.5 million) than Nick Grossmann ($3.5 million) in pay scale.
To this point, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said negotiations have not begun. The Flyers will retain Del Zotto's rights so long as they offer him a $1.3 million qualifying offer, which his agent, Mark Guy, said he fully expects....
Could this be a complicated negotiation?
"I have no idea," Hextall said. "Personally, I don't think it should be difficult. I think we know where he was, we know where he is. I think two reasonable people can probably put something together that's fair for both sides. I don't anticipate [it], but until you get there, you don't know."
Hextall said the Flyers could be interested in a longer term deal "depending on the numbers." They'll probably need to pay to buy up a few of his unrestricted years. Del Zotto is also arbitration-eligible should an impasse arrive.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The Flyers have a glaring need for a No. 1 defenseman, but because of salary-cap problems, Hextall said that player would have to come from within the organization. In other words, prospects such as Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim, and Shayne Gostisbehere would have to develop into top blue-liners.
Hextall said that he would have to give "a half-dozen pieces away" to get a first-pair defenseman and that he wasn't going to do it. "We're going to build from within."
Hextall hinted that he would like the team to get younger.
"I can assure you, I'm not going to trade young players for 30-year-olds," he said. "Not happening."
Hextall said he does not foresee problems re-signing Michael Del Zotto, who is a restricted free agent.
"I don't think it should be difficult," he said, aware that another team could sign the 24-year-old defenseman to an offer sheet.
more on the Flyers...
from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Within the long and difficult history of NHL theater in Pennsylvania, few performances had less tangible import than Wednesday night’s Penguins-Flyers appointment, only the third of this season but the 272nd since both franchises were newborns just 48 years ago.
As a general practice, when the setting is adjacent to three rivers, the local populace brings to the situation enough venom to fill all three to flood stage, which is perhaps why the entanglement Wednesday was so unusual.
Pittsburgh’s frothing fan base wanted something different this time, owing to the unusual balance of power in the Metropolitan Division, where the Penguins are preparing for the postseason just as the Flyers are packing for some truly fabulous extended vacations.
When the Flyers are sipping champagne in the south of France or frolicking with supermodels on some remote Pacific Isle, the Penguins will be mucking it up in the fabulous Nassau Coliseum, now with actually very little asbestos.
Wait a minute. Does that sound like a good deal?
Somehow, it’s preferred.
Penguins loyalists prefer their Flyers game plans to toggle between aggravated assault and attempted homicide, or, put another way, to be the mirror image of the one most frequently delivered by Philadelphia. But if there were a behavioral phrase more apt Wednesday night, and certainly more hoped for, it was, um, “Be nice!”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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