As Flyers fans we’re used to seeing the Flyers take dumb penalties, but recently we learned about probably the dumbest infraction they’ve made. A couple of days ago we learned that the Flyers traveled to Nashville before their December 27th game at 8:47 the day after Christmas(the 26th). Understandably, Hextall wanted his team to get as much practice as they could after the holiday because they’ve got a terrible habit of playing like absolute shit after an extended period of time. Hextall didn’t want the team’s winning streak to suffer because of the Christmas break so they took off as soon as they could.
Well in case you didn’t know, and you probably didn’t, the CBA (or collective bargaining agreement) doesn’t allow that. According to the CBA travel on the 24th, 25th or 26th, really they’re not allowed to do ANYTHING which includes travel. A fine for an incident like this usually ranges from $10,000 to $100,000, the Flyers were eventually fined for the plane ride, but an actual number hasn’t been given.
Hextall has said that the players came to him asking to leave early, but ultimately the decision was his and he accepted full responsibility for the fine. Hextall knew they’d get fined, but said “screw it we need the sleep, let’s go.”
I’m not going to get into (the fine’s) details. That’s not the important part. We were aware of the rule and certainly accept the league’s decision. I was approached by the players and after giving it some thought, it was pretty hard not to allow them the best possible chance to win the game, given the fact they have shown the commitment that they want to do something that is best for the hockey club…In the end, we were willing to accept the consequences.
The concern was that, had they left early on the 27th, the team would have had to wake up around 5:30 for a flight and then been tired later on for the game which would have effected their performance negatively. Unfortunately the game in Nashville started off a 4 game losing streak to end the Flyers longest road trip of the season that put them 10 points out of a wild card playoff spot.
Other teams including The Ducks, Devils and Rangers were under investigation for similar violations, each team held informal practices on the 26th. All of those teams were cleared however, because the practices were organized by players and no team officials or coaches were present at the practices.