The Philadelphia Flyers have two points in eight games, bad enough for 30th in the NHL.
Coach Peter Laviolette has been axed. They’ve scored 11 goals. Star center Claude Giroux has lost confidence and, potentially, a spot in Sochi. They have zero cap space and over $56 million in salary committed for next season. They’re a bit of a mess.
Will this fall on the shoulders of GM Paul Holmgren? Well, yeah, if only because he’s the next tree to fall for this lumbering franchise.
The Philadelphia media asked, the fans said “yes” and then they asked Flyers president Peter Luukko about it. From Sam Carchidi:
Luukko was not alarmed by the results of a recent philly.com poll. Heading into the weekend, more than 4,400 people had responded when asked if Holmgren should be replaced. Almost 93 percent said yes.
"When things aren't going well, the timing of the poll is what directly relates to the answers," Luukko said the other day. "To us, it doesn't mean anything."
Carchidi goes on to paint Holmgren as a victim of circumstance, and it’s not a difficult case to make. He’s also serving at the pleasure of a chairman that urged the Ilya Bryzgalov signing, and was forced to break up a conference-winning team because Mike Richards and Jeff Carter “needed” to go and Chris Pronger suffered a career-ending injury.
Pronger’s injury is the pivot for this franchise’s ills. With him on the blue line, mediocre goaltending could win a conference title. Without him, Holmgren scrambled to fill the defense with veteran players that … well, we don’t want to say they’re slow, but sometimes it’s hard to discern which is the live-action footage and which is the slow-motion replay.
Holmgren isn’t blameless, but he also isn’t the reason Carter and Richards divided the locker room; Pronger was injured; and the Flyers’ promising young players have regressed dramatically. Nor is he the reason the Bryzgalov contract happened, and subsequently was bought out.
Ed Snider gave Bryz a vote of confidence at the end of March, along with one for Holmgren.
Something tells me the majority of fans in that Philly poll aren’t going to have to wait long to get their desired result.