Ron Hextall has yelled at the team. Berube has berated them over and over again. The players come out after every game and talk about how they need to compete better, Mason is obviously frustrated with the effort that they’re putting out in front of him. The fans are calling for someone’s head, we’re sick of the lack of energy, lack of secondary scoring and repeated confusing decisions made by the coach. The stories are the same no matter what source you’re looking at. The fans are angry, the players just can’t muster up the motivation to play a decent game and people want some kind of drastic change, people are begging for a shake up and every sports outlet is reporting that the Flyers are trying to make some kind of shock value move to get the roster invigorated.
Every title of every Flyers article from every sports media site insists that the Flyers are going to make some big major change. I don’t believe it, we’re not under Holmgren anymore, Hextall has a plan. Patience is what Hextall preached and while most people try to say that he abandoned that plan by bringing up younger players like Gostisbehere, but patience is needed in times like this when the team is losing and people are calling for Berube’s head and blowing up the core. Patience for the team and organization as a whole and not just prospects. Development as a franchise so that we can become a contender year after year like the Kings.
Don’t rush Hextall’s plan, Trades probably not gonna happen
Even if Hextall wanted to make a move, and I really don’t believe he does, there’s not really a way that he could. Unless he were willing to either move a core guy like Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier OR move a bad guy or a guy with a shit contract for basically a 3rd round draft pick and a folding chair, there’s no moves for Hextall to make. For Hextall to get rid of bad contracts like Andrew MacDonald’s or Vinny Lecavalier’s they would have to be packaged with one of our core guys to entice another team into taking them off our hands, it might also require some draft picks in those moves and we all know that Hextall is a bigger fan of draft picks than wins he knew he wasn’t gonna get. There has been talk about a trade with Edmonton for years now, which doesn’t make any sense. The Flyers are desperate for defense, the Oilers ARE ALSO desperate for defense. The Oilers can’t really give us anything we need, besides taking someone like Coburn off our hands, a trade with Edmonton isn’t worth anything.
People say oh but we could get Eberle or one of their star players, no we can’t. If you believe that the Oilers are willing to give up those top picks that they tanked so hard to get for the Flyers bottomfeeders then you have a very warped idea of how trading works. The Oilers can’t help us, we can’t help the Oilers, let’s let those rumors die. “Oh, but Hextall should be blowing up the core now, completely restart the whole team, get a new core.” Sorry are we Edmonton now? Have we been doing so horribly for so many years that you’re actually considering blowing up the core, giving away Giroux and Voracek because they have a losing record through a quarter of ONE season? We don’t have a history of losing, if we learned anything last season it’s that this team, no matter how terrible, can pull off wins and maybe a playoff run if they get their secondary scoring started. If you’re talking about blowing up the team already please go sit down and take a few deep breaths.
Besides the extremely small possibility of a trade Hextall has already said multiple times that he won’t make a move just for the sake of making a move. There isn’t gonna be any shake-up shock value trades under the new GM. Fans understandably have a hard time believing that because we’ve lived with Holmgren long enough that the effects of some almost traitorous trades still hang with some people. Hextall is not Holmgren. Hextall has been through the building of an eventual powerhouse team in LA and the Kings we know today didn’t just happen over one offseason or after a few panic button moves.
When Hextall moved to LA and became the Assistant GM of the Kings in 2006 they had already missed the playoffs for 3 years. They missed the playoffs another 3 yeas before they made it back into the playoffs and even then they lost in the 1st round for 2 years. It took at least 5 years under Hextall to become Stanley Cup Champions. The Flyers are arguable in a slightly better place than the Kings that Hextall inherited. So far the Flyers have only missed the playoffs twice in the last 19 years, once in the last 7 years with only 2 of the last 6 playoff runs ending in the first round. Hextall has more to work with here, but it’s still going to take time to get secondary pieces that actually work well with our core instead of Lecavalier and Umberger and even Rinaldo to an extent. We might have to deal with one or two bad seasons, but I doubt we’re anywhere near the struggles of the Oilers or the Leafs or even the Sabers.
The players are bad and Berube isn’t helping.
Early in the season the Flyers had more scoring ability than they do at this point. Simmonds was on a hot streak, Giroux and Voracek were being Giroux and Voracek, Raffl had 6 goals before he was injured even Read and Couturier had 6 goals together, Lecavalier had 4 points in 4 games at the start of the season. Now we’re lucky if any line even gets sustained offensive pressure. Part of the reason for this may be the constant shuffling of lines, even lines that work well together.
Berube hasn’t made good decisions with the players he has. Remember the Bellmare-Schenn-Simmonds line? Remember how quickly that effective and energetic line was broken up? That was just one of the confusing moves that Berube made, add to the list giving Chris VandeVelde a promotion from 4th line to top line winger, constantly trying to get rid of Jason Akeson and refusing to bench under performers like Umberger and you’ve got a coach that isn’t using his players in the best ways. Any line that looked like it could be dangerous wasn’t given enough time to develop chemistry and become an actual dangerous line. High energy players have been shuffled through the anchor line of Lecavalier and Umberger and expected to drag them along, instead of burying them on the 4th line.
Berube had started his coaching career stating that players who didn’t play as well as they could would be held accountable, but there has yet to be one player actually held accountable for their shitty play. As of today, Berube has just started to follow up with his accountability play by benching Andrew MacDonald and now Vinny Lecavalier. There were odd decisions with that too though, as Berube decided it would be best to bench Pierre-Edouard Bellmare instead of Umberger or Lecavalier.
And just when you think he’s starting to make the right decisions they’re blotched with even dumber ones. Berube scratched MacDonald the last game against the Rangers, but also decided to bench Bellmare, stupid. Now there was news that Berube had scratched Lecavalier for the first time in his career against the Sharks, people assumed Macdonald would join him, however it’s been reported that Michael Del Zotto is likely to be the defenseman that joins Colaiacovo (another defenseman who should have either Coburn or MacDonald’s spot on the roster) in the press box. On top of that Bellmare may still be scratched. The decisions are getting dumber and dumber as the season goes on.
I started this article trying to say that there are just inherent problems and that the team just isn’t clicking, but as the day has gone on and more information about tonight’s game has come out I think i’m on board with getting rid of Berube. That’s way more than 3 strikes.