If you were like me, the moment you found out Dave Hakstol was fired felt like winning the lottery. What fans have been calling for a while now had finally happen. Mixed in the rumors of Joel Quinneville possibly replacing Hakstol, oh baby.
But we didn’t get Q. At least, not yet.
Quinneville is taking the rest of the year off after being fired by the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this year, and rightfully so.
Which leaves us where we are now, with Scott Gordon. Former NHL Goalie for Quebec, Former coach for the New York Islanders, and now former Lehigh Valley Phantoms coach. It wasn’t a move that surprised many, and it was to be expected. Just not who we all wanted.
Up until now, it has been a bumpy ride. Win some, lose a lot. Win a lot, lose a few here and there. Sounds like the Flyers.
Up until now, and after coming off the high of Hakstol being fired which lasted 2 months, I thought about it. Let’s compare Hakstol and Gordon.
Gordon uses time outs. When you have to celebrate a NHL coaching using time outs, you’ve had a rough past, and here we are. Hakstol never used time outs. Opposing team would dominate play, not just for seconds, but minutes and Hakstol was reluctant to use a time out to settle down the boys. He was more of a “figure it out yourself” kinda guy instead of trying to help to fix the issue. Gordon, as we have seen a few times he’s not afraid to his time out. It’s not a game changer, but hell, it’s something.
Andrew MacDonald has seen his ice time dip considerably since Gordon took over. He’s played a season low 13:16 under Gordon where Hakstol had him play a season high 22:22. A big difference when you have a player like that on the ice for that amount of time. Unfortunately, the coaching staff hasn’t exactly figured out that MacDonald should not be on the ice at all. For any given reason. It’s clear they want him out there. Earlier Gordon scratched Justin Bailey, who has been playing great hockey as a 4th liner so Philipe Myers could dress as the 7th defenseman in his NHL debut. So, the only difference is Gordon still plays Amac, just not as much. Baby steps I guess.
What started out as great handling of the goalies with phenom and savior Carter Hart making his debut has turned into, well, a mess. Hart has started the last four games winning two against Detroit in a back to back and then being pulled in the first period after giving up three goals against on nine shots in the first 10:23 and 10:33 of each game. I’m fine with him starting the first game against Detroit, but the 2 game should have gone to whoever the back up was at the time. Mike McKenna I believe it was? We’ve had so many goalies it’s hard to keep track. Either way, Hart should have not started the 2nd game. Have him ready for Tampa Bay. What we’ve seen from Hakstol was he’d just stick with one goalie and run him into the ground till he was dead. That’s one big reason I didn’t want Hakstol coaching when Hart was here. Unfortunately, Gordon is beginning to follow the route. Now, Hart will not start in the Stadium Series game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Lincoln Financial Field which we expected him to start in. Brian Elliott has risen from the dead and will now start after filling in for Hart the last 2 games. It’s not Elliott’s fault, it’s just a disappointment since everyone was excited to see Hart start at the Stadium Series.
One thing I do like is Gordon does use the kids more. I mean, he knows them well. Coached some in Lehigh Valley. Oskar Lindblow has been given more play after being buried on the 4th line. Travis Sanheim has seen his ice time elevate as well and being paired with Ivan Provorov has looked like an excellent defenseman. Something Hakstol never gave him. Even Nolan Patrick has looked much improved. Gordon communicates with his players, which they like. Hakstol was never seen communicating.
I liked Gordon at first. The team wasn’t playing great, but they were winning and he was managing the team well. The good players were playing more than the bad ones. Goalies were being rotated right. But now, he’s looking like Hakstol 2.0 and its disturbing. He’s not a rookie coach. He’s played in the league before and has developed players. However, he’s running with Hart who has single-handedly brought life back into the Flyers and got them in the playoff reach. However, Gordon is trying to run with Hart in the hopes they make it to the big show. Killing your goalie on the way there is not the way to do it. You either make it or not with everyone playing great, not just relying on your goalie and making him play every game. We’ve seen that before with Hakstol. I don’t want to see it again.
Sorry Scott, you’re bringing the hate on yourself now bud.
By: Mike Bailey @mbailey010
Photo Cred: NBC Sports Philly