Flyers take on Red Wings after Hakstol firing
It became official on Monday, ending long hours of impending drama.
Dave Hakstol was fired -- finally -- as the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms coach Scott Gordon will coach the team in Tuesday night's home game against the Detroit Red Wings. He is the interim coach -- and will, according to new general manager Chuck Fletcher, be doing it "for the rest of the year."
Joel Quenneville? Who knows?
Quenneville, fired earlier this season after his long, proud run behind the Chicago Blackhawks' bench, was reported over the weekend to be replacing Hakstol as the Flyers lost the last four games of a five-game road trip.
(Quenneville) is under contract to Chicago," Fletcher said. "I have not asked Chicago for permission and have not spoken to Joel in about two years."
The team flew home from Vancouver on Sunday. Hakstol was still the coach. The team took the ice -- for the first NHL practice of goaltending prospect Carter Hart -- and Hakstol was missing.
"I felt pretty strongly I would need to make a change, and it was better sooner than later," Fletcher said.
The Flyers (12-15-4) are in last place in the Eastern Conference. When Hart goes into the net, likely as early as Tuesday, he will become the sixth Philly goaltender to play this season.
Fletcher admitted this wasn't "the ideal situation" to bring up a 20-year-old goalie. The circumstances dictated the move and now it's up to the players in front of the goaltender.
"Make no mistake about it; we recognize where we are at," Fletcher said. "It is a tight team. I recognize our inconsistencies and our talent."
It wasn't long ago that it looked like Detroit's Jimmy Howard would be headed for Philly. Instead, he headed into Philly with the Wings, who have dropped three straight after Saturday night's shootout loss on Long Island.
"We came in here for two points and at the end of the day, you have to be happy with the one," said Tomas Vanek, who scored the goal that got his team the point. "Especially with (six) power plays (against), usually when it's like that, you're not going to get a point or two at all."
Howard is 5-4-1 with a 3.59 goals-against average and .922 save percentage lifetime against the Flyers, while backup Jonathan Bernier is 4-3-0 with 4.23/.890 against them.
Bernier was outstanding (45 saves) Saturday night for the Wins, who are 14-15-5 on the year as they head into the second game of a three-game road trip.
The Flyers placed Anthony Stolarz on injured reserved Monday with a lower body injury and he's slated to miss 2-4 weeks. Alex Lyon was returned to the minors and Michal Neuvirth is back from paternity leave. Starter Brian Elliott returned home from the west coast for further examination of his hip injury and could be out a long time.
"Brian has made progress but not as much as we have liked," said Fletcher ... "We'll have conversations about what the best approach is moving forward. At this point, I would suggest that nothing is imminent at this point."
Neuvirth is 4-3-0 with 3.15/.904 lifetime against the Red Wings.
Updated December 18, 2018