Interesting artical about the flyers.....
Saturday, November 4, 2006
Ed Snider has not asked me to be the Flyers' next general manager, but if a few more candidates turn down his offers he just might.
Last week's botched attempt to convince Colin Campbell to take the job Bob Clarke no longer wanted spoke volumes about the state the Flyers are in these days.
Not since the early 1990s have I seen the Flyers in this much turmoil, both on the ice and in the front office. Some scouts around the NHL believe their season is unsalvageable, that the club is in such disrepair it will take years to bring it back.
They might be right.
What the Flyers really need is a new direction, and so here are 10 moves I'd make if Snider gave me free reign of the team:
1. Fire Paul Holmgren: He is an honorable guy and a team player, but this club needs a clean break from the Clarke era and keeping Holmgren would be a mistake.
After all, if Clarke is right and Holmgren has been calling most of the shots the past year or so, this team's poor start is as much Holmgren's fault as it is Clarke's.
2. Hire Ken Hitchcock as general manager: He's already making $1.1 million in each of the next three seasons, so you might as well get something in return. This might seem preposterous at first, but Hitchcock has one of the brightest minds in hockey and has an uncanny ability to evaluate talent.
He gets along well with coach John Stevens and his bark from his second-floor office will hardly be heard by players who grew tired of hearing him at practice.
3. Bring back Ron Hextall: Say what you want about bringing back old-time Flyers. Hextall, now the assistant GM in Los Angeles, is smart, knows the league as well as anyone, and bleeds orange and black. His family likes it here and with Clarke and Holmgren gone, there is no roadblock preventing him from someday being the Flyers' general manager.
4. Keep John Stevens: He is the perfect coach for a young team: demanding but not a tyrant; calm without being a pushover. The Flyers would be wise to keep this guy through what could be a long rebuilding phase.
5. Re-sign Peter Forsberg: He's either staying or he's going, and I want to know which way he's leaning. Forsberg keeps saying he's waiting for his reconstructed right foot to be 100 percent before he opens contract negotiations. He says the foot is not 100 percent; the Flyers say it is.
Maybe, just maybe, Forsberg is stalling, waiting to see if it is worth his while to remain a passenger on the Titanic. If Forsberg is not in this for the long haul -- and I'm not sure he is -- I trade him now for the best young defenseman I can find. Because the longer I wait, the less I'm going to get in return.
6. Name a new captain: Through the first month of the season, it is clear that Forsberg is uncomfortable wearing the "C" and is being asked to be something he is not.
Forsberg is a wonderful player, but he is not a captain and the Flyers are in desperate need of one.
Mike Knuble is probably the best choice in a locker room devoid of leadership. He gives effort, demands effort and is brutally honest with his evaluation of his teammates' play. Like Forsberg, he too, would need to be re-signed before his value diminishes.
7. Trade Robert Esche: I like the guy's competitiveness, but by naming Antero Niittymaki his starter against Tampa on Thursday it's clear Stevens thinks Niitty is his No. 1 goalie. If Esche can't get a start after pitching a shutout, how long will it be before he demands a trade, thereby decreasing his value?
8. Waive Derian Hatcher: I can live with Mike Rathje's deficiencies, but it's time to move Hatcher and his $3.5 million salary. Hatcher is a hard-nosed, no-nonsense guy in the locker room, but when a guy isn't playing well, he cannot lead. Hatcher's voice in the locker room has been muted by his play on the ice.
9. Trade Kyle Calder: How can a guy go from scoring 26 goals on a last-place team to scoring zero goals on a last-place team? Somebody out there must believe Calder is worth something. A prospect? A backup goalie? A bag of pucks?
10. Give myself a fat raise: With one in college and three more on the way, I sure could use another zero on my paychecks.