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November 26, 2018

Did Flyers fire Ron Hextall because he wouldn't fire Dave Hakstol?

That and other hot takes following the surprising dismissal of the Flyers general manager...

Flyers NHL
031618_Hakstol_usat Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports, File

Philadelphia Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol.

The Flyers shocked the hockey world when they fired their general manager Ron Hextall amid a mediocre start to yet another NHL season. 

Immediately after the news broke, hockey fans and insiders began pontificating on why the move happened. Many thought there might be a firesale of players instead, or a coaching change, or a move to bring up youth from the minors.

Why was Hextall the sacrificial lamb?

The language in the Flyers' official statement didn't parse words, saying it was "clear that we know longer share the same philosophical approach."

In parts of five seasons as the GM, the Flyers never won a playoff round. They also, rightly or wrongly, clung to the same core of players — Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmons, Jake Voracek and others — that failed to get them better than a third seed on their division. 

The time had come for change.

Or perhaps there is more to the story. Is there more to come?

Indeed, as the Flyers took to the ice Monday, it seemed like the other shoe was soon to drop on this "Black Monday."

Some even think this was the wrong move, and cite several of Hextall's accomplishments that don't show up in the standings.

Those takes seem to agree on one thing, the 10-11-2 Flyers, in 7th place currently, needed to do something. 

The attendance for Flyers games at the Wells Fargo Center has dipped to its lowest since the 1995-96 season, which was played at the old Spectrum. Fans are no longer willing to pay to see a team play the exact same style of hockey, led by a GM who is seemingly hesitant to change.

Whether this shake up will lead to more shake ups — or lead to improved success — is anyone's guess. But in a city that has already gone though Chip Kelly's weird three years running the Eagles, Sam Hinkie's painful but eventually fruitful 'Process,' and a similarly slow-to-adapt Phillies squad in recent years, it seems about time the Orange and Black try something new.


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