October 22, 2006

It's Time for me to Fly...er.: Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Bobby Clarke quits and coach Ken Hitchcock is fired after the Flyers' worst start since the 1989-90 season. What happened the last time the Flyers opened the season 1-6-1? Bobby Clarke was fired as GM.

posted by The_Black_Hand to hockey at 08:57 AM - 11 comments

Wow. Not that I liked him, or that I think he's made a lot of good choices, but Clarke is Mister Flyer, and has been for more than a generation. Hitchcock was pretty much a cinch to go, and just the timing was in question. Now's as good a time as any. But Clarke falling on his sword? That's kind of newsworthy. But yeah, he didn't do the franchise any favors the last decade or so.

posted by chicobangs at 11:17 AM on October 22, 2006

It's about time. I didn't mind Hitch, I knew he was gone sooner or later, but Bobby was falling apart. He continued to pick up centermen and ask them to play winger positions. He completely ignored the defense. Maybe Esche isn't that great but Antero Nittymaki played outstanding for Sweden a little while back. The kid is good. Kim Johnsson was the last (and only) good player from the Lindros deal and Clarke let him go. What a mess. Has a GM ever made 2 career bad moves when it came to 1 player? 1st he gives up a Young Forsberg, Hextal (on top of his game) Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, two future first-round draft picks, and $15 million to Quebec for Lindros. Then he gives up Lindros for Johnsson, Pavel Brendl, and Jan Hlavac. What could have been if the Flyers never signed Lindros. One can only wonder what this means to the rest of Forsbergs career as teams do not usually do well after shake ups like this take place. The bright side is, it can only get better.

posted by Bishop at 11:35 AM on October 22, 2006

After all the coaches and goaltenders they have been going through over the past 10 years, I was wondering when they would finally get another GM. Philly seemed too loyal to Bob so it figures that he would have step down.

posted by MrFrisby at 11:51 AM on October 22, 2006

Antero Nittymaki played outstanding for Sweden Nittymaki is Finnish. But he did play great in the last Olympics. As for Clarke, it's a good decision on his part. He was beginning to encroach on Mike Milbury's territory.

posted by qbert72 at 05:00 PM on October 22, 2006

Nittymaki is Finnish. But he did play great in the last Olympics Wow, guess I was still shook up about the loss to Sweden. I think I meant against Sweden. Either way, he's a good net minder. Shows how bad the Flyers defense is. There's Joni Pitkanen and then there's everybody else. Clarke's excuse for signing two big, old, slow defensemen last year: Paraphrase: "You know, I go out and get 2 of the best defensemen available, and then the NHL changes the rules".

posted by Bishop at 05:34 PM on October 22, 2006

Its about time... I'm a long-time Flyers fan, and I have been waiting for this day. Neither Clarke of Hitch knows how to manage/coach in the new NHL, and neither has really done anything positive in several years...

posted by myshtigo at 09:38 PM on October 22, 2006

I think a lot of Clarke's decision had to do with the new rules. He wasn't going to adapt and was becoming a dinosaur. Plus, I wonder if he just didn't feel like learning how to work the cap. As for Hitchcock, when he got the boot in Dallas you heard players say they just got tired of his constant, hard-ass, light-a-fire-under-you approach. They said his motivational techniques just wore you out instead of getting you excited. The Flyers' performance in the 9-1 loss to the Sabres last Tuesday illustrates both Hitch's and Clarke's situation. It sure looked like the team just didn't want to be there. With the score 9-1, Forsberg got checked to the ice and no one did anything. It was a clean hit, but in Clarke's day you'd lose your nose for something like that. For better or worse, the league's changed and I would think a guy like Clarke would have trouble swallowing something like that.

posted by SummersEve at 06:50 AM on October 23, 2006

It kills me to say it, because he had a shot to be world-class, but it sounds like Ken Hitchcock probably belongs in the minors. He won't take a backseat gig to anyone else, he doesn't seem like he belongs upstairs or in a scouting booth, and his act grows cold pretty quick. He belongs with kids who need the work-ethic training and who won't be around so long that his act gets thin.

posted by chicobangs at 08:52 AM on October 23, 2006

To tag onto SummersEve's point above re: the 'new' game, I just wanted to point out the irony of the league trying to erase the use of 'new', the clever prefix they themselves added to the sport's lexicon only last year. Hitch's personality isn't his only draw back. His defense first, second and third approach was the ultimate scheme to win in the old NHL. But he didn't adapt fast enough, and clung to habits that used to be successful for him despite the evidence in front of his face. I wouldn't disount the chance of Kenny resurfacing with a new team, but he needs to get back to the lab before he should return to an NHL bench.

posted by garfield at 12:29 PM on October 23, 2006

They've promoted Craig Berube from coach of the AHL's Phantoms to assistant coach with the Flyers. Kjell Samuelsson is now head coach of the Phantoms. I guess Kjell can sympathize with Darrien Hatcher when he gets roasted on goals. Here's Youtube highlights of the 9-1 game. Note who many times you see number 2 standing there after a goal, especially on the fourth and sixth goals. Very Kjell-esque (though some back checking from the fowards would be nice).

posted by SummersEve at 04:53 PM on October 23, 2006

Not that I am defending Clarkie -- believe me, it was time for him to go -- but just to clarify the comment by Bishop...Clarke was not the Flyers' GM when Philadelphia pulled the trigger on the big Eric Lindros deal in 1992. The GM at the time was Russ Farwell. He was GM from 1990-1994 before Philadelphia brought Clarke back. What blows me away, looking back now, are all the links between Philadelphia and that trade... -The arbitrator who ruled in favor of Lindros going to Philadelphia was Larry Bertuzzi, the uncle of NHLer Todd Bertuzzi, who had a brief stint with the Flyboys; -Peter Forsberg, of course, who is now back with Philadelphia; -and another brief stay as a Flyer this season -- Nolan Baumgartner -- heralded by Clarke as the answer to the Flyers recent troubles. Baumgartner was part of the Lindros trade as the 1994 first round pick (one of the two Bishop noted above), later traded to the Maple Leads and then to Washington. I don't place much faith in Holmgren as Interim GM, but I think between Stevens and Asst. Coach Terry Murray (who last took the Flyers to the cup finals in 1997), maybe they can make some moves and turn things around. By the way Murray, don't think I forget my college days as a reporter when you nearly took my head off in the bowels of the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh following an embarrassing loss to the Penguins. :) ~Let's Go Flyers~

posted by rosey8810 at 02:04 PM on October 24, 2006

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