Ah, Dave Hakstol … a former head coach of the Philadelphia Men’s Professional Hockey Organization. I think Dave Hakstol is like Blood Mary; if you say his name three times in front of a mirror, he will appear before your eyes, but instead of killing you, he will ruin your hockey team. As a Flyers fan, I think I am allowed to say that Dave Hakstol is one of the worst coaches in NHL history. Everything about this man was so average … his four years in Philly were marked mediocrity and failure, with the team making the playoffs twice but losing in the first round each time. I mean, just look at some of the players that Hakstol would actually allow to dress and play in the NHL: Robert Hagg, Alex Lyon, Carson Twarynski, Chris Vandevelde, Mark Friedman, Radko Gudas, Andrew MacDonalds … shall I go on? If I could relive those four years of hell, I think I would choose a different NHL team to root for.
So, why am I talking about one of the worst coaches in Flyers history? Well, he is making his debut back in Philly since being fired, as the head coach of the newest NHL team, the Seattle Kraken. Let’s look at the short (although, it felt like an eternity) career Dave Hakstol had in Philly!
2015 was a dark year in Philadelphia history. It is the year that the Ron Hextall, new general manager of the Flyers, hired Dave Hakstol, former head coach of the ice hockey team at the University of North Dakota. Even though Hak had success at the colliegate level, does not mean that he was NHL ready; that success sometimes does not transfer over; just look at Urban Meyer, coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL. It had been the first time since 1986 that a coach from the NCAA was promoted to a top club in the NHL.
Everyone in Philadelphia had high hopes for Hak; but, it would not be long before his true colors would show. At the start of the 2015-2016 season, the Flyers would quickly find themselves outside of the playoff bubble … they would go 4–2–1 in their first seven games. In true Hakstol fashion, the team would remain outside the playoffs until the very end, where they would make an incredible run, producing a record of 17-5-1. And then, to everyones shock, the Flyers would be eliminated by Washington in 6 games, generating comebacks in multiple games. Hakstol’s shtick of “coming-from-behind” would get old very quickly. The act of making the playoffs and then quickly being eliminated would happen another time before Hakstol, and his big brother, Ron Hextall, would subsequently be fired.
After having a disappointing start to the 2018-2019 season, Hextall was fired as the GM, and Dave Hakatol would quickly follow 2 weeks later. So, has life as a Flyers fan really gotten better since Hak’s firing? Probably not.
Even when he is not on the Flyers, he still seems to be screwing us over. In the latest expansion draft, Seattle could have taken someone with a bigger contract off Philadelphia’s hands, like JVR, but they took a player who was being paid the equivalent of an open bag of chips. Now, I get that Hakstol was not the only one making the decision of who to take in the expansion draft, but it does make you think … did he do this on purpose? Is this all part of Hak’s plan to destroy the Philadelphia Flyers once and for all? Who knows … it could be.
I think if I had a supervillain, who’s goal it was to disrupt my life and cause me as much misery as possible, it would be Dave Hakstol.
Thank you for reading!
By: Ryan Meyer (@RyanLMeyer)
Photo Credit: apnews.com