It has only been two weeks since Chuck Fletcher was named the 9th GM in Philadelphia Flyers history. In that short time however, Fletcher has gained the full support of the teams’ fan base.
Ron Hextall was a fan favorite in Philadelphia from his playing days. He also won a Stanley Cup as an assistant GM in Los Angeles. He was not a hard man to back for fans. Fletcher is without such a luxury, but can quickly establish himself in his new city.
Fletcher has already begun placing his fingerprints on the franchise. Today it was announced, then denied, then rumored, then finally confirmed that the Flyers fired Head Coach Dave Hakstol. Hakstol has been on the hot seat all season, and his team’s mediocrity finally sealed his coaching fate.
Hakstol never fully gained support from the Flyers faithful. Inconsistency combined with questionable decision making plagued Hakstol’s tenure, resulting in Philadelphia playing subpar hockey. His firing marks a new era of Flyers hockey, and a fresh start for a team needing a shot in the arm.Canning the Head Coach was huge for Fletcher gaining fan support. Replacing him with the league’s top candidate could put him over the top.
Joel Quenneville has been rumored to be Fletcher’s top choice for bench boss since he was hired as General Manager. Quenneville won three Cups with the Blackhawks and is without a doubt the biggest name available in the coaching market. He’s a big fish to reel in, but one that may not seem as unattainable as originally thought. While Coach Q has yet to be hired, Scott Gordon of the Phantoms will act as an interim coach.
Hextall was very patient with his young players, which ironically played a role in his termination. It was announced today that the Flyers have called up Carter Hart from the Phantoms. Fletcher has shown no patience here with the Flyers top prospect.
It may seem unfair to uproot such a young player and throw him on a struggling team. This move may seem like a smokescreen, and maybe even a little desperate. But it’s also different. It’s a move that would never have been made under Hextall.
The Flyers have been major underachievers in 2018. Whether or not Fletcher’s recent moves pay off remain to be seen. But what is known is the change has created a buzz.
Fans have supported the brashness of their new General Manager. The Flyers have dwindled in the standings this year, and seemed doomed for another lousy season. Entering December, the team looked dead. But in the little time he’s had so far, Fletcher has given this franchise new life.
A Philadelphia native who loves sports, writing, and cheesesteaks – in that order. Being retweeted by Brian Dawkins remains life’s crowning achievement.