In all of our occupations we have to make decisions. Some of these are hard and others are easy. A GM of a hockey team is no different. For all of us, with every decision made, we make that choice based off of either fear or foresight. So the question becomes, how does Chuck make his decisions? I think the answer is pretty clear, they are made out of fear.
Anyone who has a boss/leader above them can agree that decisions made out of fear normally spells disaster (or at the very least great concern). This is one of the reasons I’ve come to like Scott Laughton and feel he should be the next captain. Think back to the Provy/pride night situation. Whether you like what Provy did or not you could argue. What can’t be argued with is the foresight Scott Laughton had while addressing the media. He didn’t have fear, he had foresight in a challenging situation. A true leader.
That brings us back to Chuck. Foresight would not be the word that many (myself included) would use to describe his moves. Some words that have been used: reactionary, impulsive, directionless, and puzzling are just a few. I would summarize all of those words with just one: fear.
As individual moves they aren’t the worst possible moves, however when you reflect on the needs of the roster, the moves really appear to be made out of fear. The extensions handed out seem to be made out of fear that a player will leave (as seen through not letting a final season play out to see how the player performs). Trades feel like they are made shoveling water out of a sinking ship but deciding that duck tape will be sufficient to patch a gaping hole.
Neither of these situations is what you want from a GM in any sport. It feels that Fletcher sits down at the trade deadline and the end of the season and reflects on the roster for the first time in months. He then scrambles around his office writing a bunch of random names and values down for players so he can do something. While I know this isn’t the case, the moves/extensions give off the vibes that Fletcher is attending games in his private box and enjoying all the chicken fingers and fries he can eat while casually watching the game. When a fan base is more creative and forward thinking with moves, Philly we have a problem.
The Flyers playing as well as they have is a nightmare scenario when you have a GM leading out of fear. Fletcher will be here through the trade deadline at the very least. We likely won’t see anyone come in to help a playoff push. We also likely will be left scratching our heads on the returns of players like JVR and Braun. This is a nightmare because fear blocks foresight. The exact quality you need from a good GM.
I hope I’m wrong, and will celebrate if that is the case. I just don’t see any future right now where we see a direction and forward thinking moves. I’ve moved past the hope of the Flyers and Fletcher doing the right thing. This organization is determined to retool. Retool feels like keeping everything the same to this organization. Sadly, because of fear, that likely means we will see the same roster, front office, and philosophy next year. Time will tell, but history has shown that the odds aren’t in the Flyers favor.
Fear or hope. Reactionary or foresight. Playoffs or ping pong balls. All three hinge on a GM that has instilled almost zero confidence with the backing of an organizational structure that strives to keep things the same. Fear will cripple you in leadership. Hope will kill you as a fan. Here we find ourselves in the worst possible place as flyers fans: purgatory. Let’s hope purgatory turns to foresight. Fear turns to hope. Incompetence to vision. Fletcher, let’s move from being a row boats spinning in circles in the ocean to a cruise ship where we enjoy the ride.
By: Josh Shuster (@flyguyjosh91)
photo credit: inquirer.com