They say you ahould learn to pick your battles. Some you absolutely won’t win, and others the people who fight you will make the fight not worth it at all. When someone defends an unpopular opinion they say this is the hill I will die on. Dave Hakstol has chosen the hill he will die on. In Hakstol’s eyes, Andrew MacDonald is a top 3 defenseman and Shayne Gostisbehere should be back in the AHL or something. There has been a disdain for Hakstol growing through some of the Flyers fanbase mostly based on his, let’s say, questionable, decisions. But the slow-burn may have finally hit the drum of gunpowder after Hakstol’s comments about Ghost in the Flyers most recent town hall meeting for season ticket holders.
A few things were addressed at the season ticket holders meeting, including Holmgren being in favor of NHL players going to the winter Olympics, German Rubstov’s movement to North America and I’m sure some other stuff, but the most notable portion was when Dave Hakstol came out to address fans questions. According to a fan account of the meeting posted to Broad Street Hockey, Paul Holmgren, who addressed fans first had to deal with the #FireHakstol feelings early.
“-Asked if Hak was going to be fired and whether Hak was aggressive enough to coach in a city like Phila. Homer defended Hak, said he does things behind closed doors we don’t see. Said Hak is not going anywhere, is part of the longterm plan for the team.”
The last few days have put the coach in an especially bad light since, When putting Travis Konecny back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two games, Hakstol told the media “I’m not really looking for what he’s learned, I’m looking for what he can add to the lineup”. That sentiment is a bit contradictory to what Hakstol was saying earlier in the season about young players being benched. Supposedly the point of making younger players a healthy scratch was so that they could watch the game from a different perspective. The scratches were sold as teaching moments and were being used purely to let the players get an idea of what they could be improving on and how.
Couple that comment with his whole appearance at the STH meeting and I’m sure people would have a hard time blaming you for being a bit concerned (pissed).
Things got off to a great start…
first words out of his mouth: “so should we just talk about ghost?”
— the return (@ronlextall) February 7, 2017
Apparently there were up to 5 different groups of fans that Holmgren, Hextall and Hakstol addressed over the day and at least three of the groups had fans asking a version of the same question. Why does Andrew MacDonald continue to play while Ghost is punished? Which may be a reason why some accounts had the head coach replying with more hostility, depending on which account you read.
The answer was that Hakstol believes Andrew MacDonald is a top 3 or 4 defenseman.
On this team’s blueline? Maybe, since after Provorov, Gudas and Gostisbehere there’s not really much to talk about, but it’s a stretch, especially if Michael Del Zotto can start playing like he did last season when he returns from injury.
On ANY team? Haha no that’s just straight up wrong.
In the league? Hakstol can’t be THAT insane…right?
Hakstol apparently spent the rest of the time praising Andrew MacDonald’s ability and mentioned something about him being sent down to the AHL last year and that being harder. Whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.
He did try to walk the line and compliment Ghost, saying that he is young, he has some great skills, that he was having good practices and assuring that Ghost is part of the Flyers future. That didn’t really help quell the anger from fans who have to watch Andrew MacDonald play 20 minutes a night.
Now, after much scrutiny, Hakstol has announced that after 3 games, Ghost will play against the Islanders. It’s possible he made the connection between Ghost being in the box and the Flyers dreadful offense that we all made two games ago.
The fact is that Dave Hakstol genuinely believes that Andrew MacDonald has been more important to this Flyers lineup than Shayne Gostisbehere and he will take you out to the parking lot if you’ve got a problem with that.