Sunday, October 22, 2006

Better late than never

I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised to wake up late this afternoon and find out the Philadelphia Flyers had cleaned out, ousting Ken Hitchcock while letting Bob Clarke retain some dignity by stepping down.

First off, make no mistake, Bob Clarke was fired as well. I have no inside knowledge telling me this, but you don't have to be a genius to put two and two together. In addition to his familial connection that seemed to give him carte blanche within the organization, in that city, Bobby Clarke is a legend within that franchise. I'm sure the last thing Ed Snider wanted to do was pink slip his son in law, the guy who captained their only Cup winning seasons, but he didn't have a choice.

I imagine Snider pulled Clarke aside sometime late this week, told him they wanted to move in another direction, and let him "resign" rather than get the axe. I can respect that.

Truth is, if Clarke had a different wife, or played his NHL years with another team, he probably would have been canned years ago. The amount of executive brainfarts he's committed are many. Among them:
- how he handled Roger Nielsen's cancer
- the Eric Lindros mess
- all the goaltending misjudgements over the year
- Chris Gratton
- Derian Hatcher
& Mike Rathje

Clarke was also saved by the fact the Flyers organization has been incredibly good at drafting and developing young talent. Despite routinely drafting late, if they even hold onto their first round picks, Philly has built up an impressive crop of young players over the years.

As for Hitchcock, I feel bad because I genuinely think the man is a good coach, and I doubt he'll have a hard time finding a job. But based on how players played for him Tuesday night, it sure seems as if they've given up on Hitch. Perhaps John Stevens, a younger bench boss with (hopefully) some new, fresh ideas and a connection to the players that Hitchcock clearly lacked.

The Flyers have enough talent to pull it together and make the playoffs. And as we saw last season, once the postseason begins, anything can happen.

3 Comments:

At 1:03 AM, Anonymous David Johnson said...


Clarke was also saved by the fact the Flyers organization has been incredibly good at drafting and developing young talent. Despite routinely drafting late, if they even hold onto their first round picks, Philly has built up an impressive crop of young players over the years.


Really? Of the players currently on their roster not many are Flyers draft picks. Here are their first round picks since 1995.

1995: Brian Boucher
1996: Dainius Zubrus
1997: Jean-Marc Pelltier
1998: Simon Gagne
1999: Maxime Ouellet
2000: Justin Williams
2001: Jeff Woywitka
2002: Joni Pitkanen
2003: Jeff Carter, Mike Richards
2004: No pick

Gagne and Pitkanen were their best picks and Pitkanen was a 4th overall pick.

Justin Williams has turned into a nice player but did nothing of note for the Flyers. Zubrus has been an OK player but kind of a dime a dozen type player.

The jury is still out on what kind of career Richards and Carter will have. The rest haven't ammounted to much.

Of the non-first round picks the only players to player in the NHL are guys like Johan Hedberg, Colin Forbes, Jesse Boulerice, Todd Fedoruk, Bruno St. Jacques, Antero Nittymaki, Roman Cechmanek, and Dennis Seidenberg, most of whom are fringe players at best.



Gagne was a good late round draft pick.
Pitkanen was a good 4th overall pick. There isn't much else though.

After that there isn't much. Jeff Carter and Mike Richards have some promise but certainly haven't shown they can be top players in the NHL.

The Flyers have not drafted well.

 
At 1:08 PM, Anonymous TheIceCobra said...

ok, Williams for Markov was a joke, but other than that the Flyers did pretty well to get top notch players for their talents. Guys like Recchi, Oates, Comrie, Handzus and Primeau have been brought to the city of brotherly love in exchange for some of these first round picks.
the prob was, that they all have been shown the door way too early and philly´s got almost nothin in return. the Flyers have made a habit out of the wheelin and dealin, with very little to show for in the last decade or so.
and it´s not goin to get any better right now, cause Stevens and Holmgren are only younger versions of their predecessors and i don´t think they will come up with these fresh ideas and the different approach, that is needed to get them back on track...

 
At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't just look at the Flyers' draft record in isolation. If you do that with any team, there are going to be plenty of misses. Just look at the first round from any given year, and check out the shocking number of guys who flat out didn't make it in the NHL, even as fringe players. You can only compare teams to other teams, checking the percentage of their total draft picks that ended up playing in the league. The Flyers may or may not have a bad record if you look at it that way, but at least it would be a fair comparison.

 

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