Flyers Town Hall Recap

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was written for The Broad Street Bully, a blog and podcast my friend Drew and I started based off of our mutual interest in the Philadelphia Flyers. See it on http://broadstreetbully.net.]

Thanks to Twitter user, Mike Aceto, we have a pretty solid recap of what happened at the Flyers town hall meeting on Monday night. I used Mike’s tweets and interspersed my own commentary to rundown what was covered. After the jump, Mike’s tweets are italicized and copied directly from his Twitter. My responses are not italicized.

Hak justified the benching of young players, mostly he said to give them a breather bc the change to NHL routine is so dramatic; also said sometimes they need a “kick in the ass”

And this makes a lot of sense. The jump from Junior hockey, or even the AHL, is usually something players aren’t ready to deal with. For a lot of the armchair quarterbacks out there, the speed of the game at the NHL level is never really taken into account. Also, another problem is that Provorov is literally a genetic mutant. The odds of a rookie defense man coming in to the NHL his freshman year and establishing himself as a top pairing player are few and far between.

And, as Hakstol stressed last year, sitting young players isn’t the end of the world. Sometimes they get a sense of entitlement from making the big team but they need a reset. Look at Gostisbehere and Konecny this year. They’re no worse for wear and they’re still major cornerstones of the franchise. Contrary to popular belief, it won’t kill players to watch a couple games from the press box.

Said some adapt faster/easier than others (i.e. Provy, Patrick), but others need more time. Admitted that Sanheim is a huge part of team for years to come

Hexy specifically mentioned Myers, Morin, and Sanheim as bigger D-men that will be added to the team to help increase size. Was interesting bc he spoke of them in in context w/ Provy, Ghost, and Hagg, perhaps indicating he envisions those 6 together someday.

To say Provorov adapted easier is an understatement. Patrick was doing a pretty good job until the concussion but, once he came back from that, his game took a hit. Presently, though, he looks like he’s finally comfortable and he’s starting to put points up on the board. This is a real good sign for the Flyers, as it locks up a center position and leaves them free to look elsewhere in free agency.

Someone asked Hexy about the “Schenn for Lehtera deal,” which I thought was funny bc the running joke is that people inexplicably forget that 2 1st rounders were the meat of the deal – Hexy basically said it was a good return, couldn’t pass it up and they needed spot for Patrick

I feel like these kind of questions are the reason why you don’t invite mouth breathers to these events. The trade was never an exact 1 for 1 deal. Morgan Frost is tearing up the OHL with over 100 points. And the Flyers still get a first round pick from the Blues, which could be this year because they are free falling into obscurity. And they are free falling into obscurity with Brayden Schenn playing top center minutes. If everbody could put their love of specific players aside, maybe they could see that Schenn wasn’t going to make it here, Hextall realized that, and moved an asset before it became a liability.

Hexy was asked about getting closer to making that big trade to “put them over the top.” Indicated he was never going to make a trade like that unless every piece of the farm was locked and loaded to replenish what he’d have to give up AND the deal was fair

Seems like Hexy is not going to make that splash rental trade, unless in a Tampa Bay situation this season where they’re so close, PLUS will still retain the high-end prospects to absorb the blow of giving up some of the farm

To his credit, he’s stuck to his plan. And I commend him for that because the Philly sports media can be brutal. Hextall won’t waiver from his plan to build from within and with the salary cap what it is, that’s a good motto. Also, to his advantage, the free agent market the past couple years has been pretty weak.

And, in trades, Hextall’s already shown he won’t be fleeced. I mean, he traded Lecavalier to the Kings and got Jordan Weal back so, there’s that.

Question re: Flyers atrocious shootout record (over YEARS) were emphasized; Hexy admitted he is in favor of eliminating it entirely and going to 7:30 of OT and then would end it with a tie, if need be.

Hexy said Players Association would have to approve extending OT, and that’s where the push back would come from.

What a waste of a question. The reason the Flyers are so bad in shootouts is because they’ve had a consistent run of pass first top guys. When was the last time the Flyers had a pure scorer? Gagne? When your top player’s first thoughts are pass, it seems pretty obvious that you would do poorly in an event where scoring goals is literally the most important thing. Come on.

Hak emphasized how important the veterans are to young players, like in places such as the locker room; he said he has a multitude of reasons for deciding who is healthy scratched each game

I’m sure this answer pissed off a lot of people but, like we’ve been saying all year, you can’t judge a player solely on their Corsi numbers. Clearly, Hakstol is an old school guy that puts some importance on the role of a player in the lockeroom. Everyone might hate Weise and Lehtera, but they are two guys that have been around the league, know how to play hockey the right way (even if they don’t do it that way consistently), and appear to have earned their spots from being solid team guys.

/ducks for cover

Chris Pryor was good, but it’s very obvious that it’s Hexy calling the shots; Pryor kept speaking of Hexy’s patient plan, and vision.

The ownership being there but not involved is a huge bonus to Hextall. He’s free to wheel and deal as he sees fit. Ed Snider is a legend in Philadelphia and we owe everything to him but you have to think if he didn’t step in and force the Flyers to sign Bryzgalov that we would’ve had a drastically different timeline.

But that drastically different timeline might not have included Ivan Provorov or Travis Konency so maybe we don’t want that timeline.

Hexy said he’s looking at years down the line as he contemplates trades; said he’s trying to build a team that’s good for 10 years.

Hextall is doing exactly what Holmgren didn’t. For too long the Flyers were in a win now mode almost every year. Now that Hextall is the new sheriff in town, he’s imposing his will on everyone. Flyers Twitter is particularly sour at some of his decisions but I’m happy he doesn’t care or let that influence him. He’s going to build through the draft and it’s going to take some time before the team is a contender.

I’ll let Dale Weise slide since it was really his only poor signing and, at the time, it didn’t even seem like that bad of a signing. I don’t think most people expected Weise to completely fall of a cliff the season immediately after signing.

Much of the Homer and Tilger talk was about the $250 million renovation project to WFC that will be taking place during the next 3 summers; biggest point w. them, however, was StubHub resale has been atrocious, people losing money on seats

I don’t know why people brought up a third party ticket website at the Flyers town hall. StubHub does suck now. It’s disappointing to find a ticket priced at twenty dollars only to find out it’s actually sixty seven dollars because StubHub tacked on their mandatory fees.
But, that’s the ups and downs of a third party ticket website. I’m sorry the season ticket holders are losing money trying to resell their seats but maybe they should: 1) go to more games or 2) buy a different season ticket package. If you aren’t going to every game there’s really no reason to have all those tickets.

Chris Pryor mentioned that Morgan Frost is having an amazing season in OHL, but size-wise, he is still not mature enough for NHL; said if we saw Frost sitting on chair up there next to him tonight we’d understand that point better

He’s having a great season in Junior hockey. So did Couturier. So did Laughton. Not saying they aren’t good NHL players now but they definitely took some time to find their roles. Morgan Frost will be fine. He’ll also probably be a big part of the Flyers going forward. The problem with Hextall’s motto is that no one actually has patience and they want immediate gratification all the time.

Hak couldn’t give any particular reason why so bad in shootout, but admitted it was an area they need to get better at; people were emphasizing lack of creativity on the part of the players; Hexy said he would not seek to add a shootout “specialist” to team

As Hextall shouldn’t. You get three chances in a shootout to score. Trading to bring in one person doesn’t guarantee a win and it is a stupid idea.

Very oddly, Hak disagreed entirely that this team was “streaky,”despite the 10 game losing streak and then getting points in 12 straight.

Hak asked specifically about the “Fire Hakstol” chants and whether affected his family life; Hak reiterated (as he did post game after the SJ or Boston game?) that it’s part of the job, said he talked about it w/ his daughters

Re: chants, Hak said he was raised “to just deal with it.”

What do you want Hakstol to say? “The team isn’t very consistent” to any other NHL teams listening. They might have gone 0-5-5 but since then they’ve been on a tear. Do they lose games they should win? Yes, sometimes. Do they win games they should lose? Yes, sometimes. The Flyers are fighting for the top of a division that includes some real powerhouses. People need to take a step back and appreciate what Hakstol, and the players by proxy, have done in getting to this point. Everyone wants to fire Hakstol because he’s not playing the people they want but that’s a stupid reason. He has a hockey team that’s in a dog fight for the Metropolitan division and people are still angry at him. It just seems like he won’t be able to please everyone all the time. I’d like to think a majority of Flyers fans understand it and Flyers twitter is just a vocal minority. I hope.

Tilger mentioned they’ll have 4 uniforms next year: Stadium Series from last season will be alternates (and used ~15 times) w/ a brand new design for the game at the Linc in Feb. 2019

Tilger said you’ll be able to buy just a single game ticker for the Stadium Series at the Linc (whereas the outdoor game at CBP they apparently made you buy multiple other games in a package in order to get the outdoor game ticket)

1. Yes. I love the stadium series jerseys. Curious to see the fourth for the next outdoor game but I love the previous stadium series jersey.
2. You’ll be able to buy a single game ticket if you want to sell your soul. If anybody finds one for a reasonable price, let me know. I’ll go with you.

Question was asked to Hak re: Ian LaPeirre’s role as PK coach in that team has been terrible bottom-tier team under him past few seasons; Hak said the players know the basics, but aren’t executing by not clearing pucks from D-zone properly

I would’ve bought this excuse last year but not this year. The Flyers have better penalty killers and are still having the same problems. It gets to a point where it’s on the coach and not the players. I think it’s that time for Laperriere. Mullen got fired for a better powerplay unit so I don’t get the slack they’ve given Laperreire.

Pryor asked about Morin’s injury status – would not elaborate, but said he’d be back “soon” – seems to think Morin will play at least some games this season for Phantoms

Pryor admitted Wade Allison’s injury is “lower body” (which we knew); said that NCAA game and Canadian Juniors both great – said Juniors can help get kids used to lots of games (like NHL), but college gives better time to physically mature

Not a 100% sure why people would ask about injury statuses. They won’t give straight answers to the media so why would they give them to people at a town hall meeting? Morin has been hurting himself all year. It’s not ridiculous to think the Flyers may be more willing to cut bait at their first chance and get some return for a guy that may never play. But, then again, he may become a legend. It’s all a gamble because they’re unproven players.

Also, between NCAA and Junior, the compete level in Junior is probably better. Playing against better competition is always more important to getting better.

Hak admitted that Sanheim will play a huge longterm role on Flyers – that has to mean they see him up at NHL level consistently next season and, as important, ManDog will should not be re-signed

Seeing this information relayed is assuring but most Flyers fans knew the answers to these questions before they were asked. Brandon Manning was never a long term answer but he was a suitable, and cheap, stop gap.

Overall, some interesting nuggets tonight. They love their veterans and to me, it seems they value how players act, conduct themselves basically on equal ground with talent.

Hexy said he places very high value on bringing his own players up through Flyers’ system; said it means much more to them to play for team that drafted them, rather than bring in a guy who has played for 4 teams; said you can see a difference in their effort level

It seems like Hexy would be very bullish about trading away any players he personally drafted; to Hexy, there is some very discernible value and will get better effort and better chance of maximizing abilities from home-grown versus bringing in from other teams’ systems

Veterans help build a culture. It’s like how tough guys were lauded before fighting was mostly taken out of the game. There’s a price you put on veterans and what they bring to the team that you can’t measure in Corsi. But, because you can’t measure it in Corsi, that’s why most people get angry when those players start doing poorly. We’re all on the internet complaining about decisions the team makes but just take a step back and remember that you’re just a keyboard jockey (we all are) and that the people making these decisions are dealing with the team everyday, all day. Sometimes you have to trust management.

Unless you’re an Islanders fan. Then you want them to fire Garth Snow.

At one point during Homer and Tilger’s session, Tim Saunders refused to give the mic to a guy who was completely livid near the front row, did not hear everything he said, but started off shouting about Amac and throwing his hands up.

Tim Saunders. A true hero.

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