Flyers Chairman Ed Snider: 'We don't need a fresh perspective'

Flyers Chairman Ed Snider: 'We don't need a fresh perspective'

"We don't need a fresh perspective" -- Ed Snider

And that line -- more than any other from Monday morning's press conference, maybe more than any line at any time -- sums up the last 38 years of Philadelphia Flyers hockey.

Craig Berube was officially introduced as the 18th coach in Flyers history on Monday, and the 11th coach since Paul Holmgren's own tenure behind the bench ended in 1991. Peter Laviolette was fired after just three games. That's the quickest any coach has ever been fired in league history.

Right from the top, things went south. In fact, it very quickly gave way to an irritated Ed Snider arguing with an equally irritated Howard Eskin. That tells you a lot of what you need to know in case you missed it. Although this end to proceedings paints the clearest picture:
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As for specifics, Holmgren said he made the decision to fire Peter Laviolette while on the plane coming back from Carolina last evening. He met with Laviolette this morning, who apparently expressed as much frustration about the state of his team anyone else.

Holmgren, who made a point to say it was decision to fire Laviolette, twice mentioned the excitement surrounding his free-agent acquisitions of Vinny Lecavalier, Mark Streit and Ray Emery over the summer, and how the team had not lived up to that excitement.

"We made some changes over the summer that got us excited," Holmgren said. "It was a fleeting thought."

Then he got into the damning quotes: "Right from Day 1 at training camp, I was concerned about how the team looked."

And in assessing his team's play over three games: "It was unacceptable. We don't look like a team at all."

Holmgren did at one point attempt to slightly remove Laviolette from under the bus, stating: "I'd be remiss not to thank Peter. … He did a good job. ... He's a good coach.

"I like Peter. I thought he deserved another opportunity [after last year].

"Peter Laviolette worked his ass off for the Flyers."

This conversation -- as it should, as it often does when any coach gets canned -- will quickly work it's way right back to general manager and soon focus on what Holmgren's future should be with the Flyers. The coach is responsible for marking all the pieces fit, but Holmgren is the one who put together the team he was concerned about "right from Day 1."

Still, the major takeaway from this morning's presser is that the Flyers are prepared to soldier on as they have since they last won a Stanley Cup. Ed Snider was highly combative throughout the press conference and capped things off in a style that should surprise no one.

When asked if he was worried about the perception Berube's hire might bolster -- specifically, that the Flyers are too insulated by their own history and culture -- Snider doubled down, and did so with some anger in his voice.

"Thirty teams are trying to win the Cup and we're doing our damnedest to do it. That's our culture. That's our culture," he said.

"We don't need a fresh perspective."

Thirty teams are trying to win a Cup, but the Flyers' attempt to do it every single year has led them into one knee-jerk reaction after another.

This is a team operating with a goal in mind, but without any specific road map to get there.

The Flyers are trying desperately to win a Stanley Cup every year, and that's maybe the biggest part of what's holding them back from actually doing it.

In 1st game post-Ersan Ilyasova, Dario Saric shines as Sixers' starting PF

In 1st game post-Ersan Ilyasova, Dario Saric shines as Sixers' starting PF

When Ersan Ilyasova was traded to the Hawks on Wednesday, it became Dario Saric's time to shine.

And shine he did in the Sixers' 120-112 win over the Wizards Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. In the first game coming off the All-Star break, Saric got the starting nod at power forward. He certainly looked the part, posting 20 points (10 of 19 from the field), 11 rebounds and four assists.

Saric, now the only true four on the roster, was proud of his team's performance against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

"We have a lot of veterans who can share the ball and that's how you're supposed to play," Saric said. "For me I'm not surprised if we [beat the third-best team] in the East, but I believe these guys can play very good basketball."

Saric was excellent in the starting role, but his exceptional play dates back before the All-Star break. Including Friday, he's averaged 20.5 points, eight rebounds and 2.5 assists over his last six games. The Sixers are 4-2 in that span.

Head coach Brett Brown is seeing what he expected to see from the Croatian rookie.

"He's a professional basketball player," Brown said. "He has been that for a while. His love of the game, his passion for the game is contagious. It's a thing that we loved maybe more than anything about him when we did the deal with Orlando, knowing however many years ago with the trade with Elfrid Payton and Saric. That was a calculated move."

Saric played almost 33 minutes Friday night. So what did Brown do to give Saric a breather? He sent out Robert Covington.

Covington has played the position most of his life but has spent his entire Sixers career on the wing. In a time of need, he stepped up for a team still adjusting to roster changes.

The 6-foot-8 Covington held his own against the likes of Philly native Markieff Morris. It didn't seem to faze his offensive game, either. Covington scored 25 points on 9 of 14 from the field (5 of 9 from three). He also added 11 rebounds and three assists.

Covington has also been a catalyst for the Sixers during their recent success. He's averaging 17.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 steals in his last six. He's also shot a ridiculous 46 percent from three (19 of 41) in that span.

"We can only control what we're able to control on the court," Covington said. "Everything outside of what they do in management doesn't include us. We can only focus on what we can control on the court, and that's what our main focus was on these last few days."

Saric continues to show that he was worth wait while Covington continues to prove that he's a keeper.

They've certainly had different paths. Saric was a lottery pick and regarded as one the top young players in Europe. Covington went undrafted out of Tennessee State and spent the 2013-14 primarily with the Rockets' D-League affiliate.

Bryan Colangelo has identified Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as the team's "transformational players." That's likely true, but every NBA team needs guys like Saric and Covington to complement their stars.

Covington is impressed with the progress of Saric in his rookie season.

"Dario's a very special player," Covington said. "He's able to do so much on the court. Tonight, you saw every aspect of his game. He'll guard, defending, rebounding and making plays on the offensive game. That's what Dario does. Now that he's going to play more in the starting lineup, it's really going to help him."

Saric may be the frontrunner to take home the Rookie of the Month for February. He's second only to Joel Embiid in double-doubles (seven) and 20-point games (six) among rookies. Whether it's Saric or Embiid, it appears the Rookie of the Year will be a Sixer.

His promotion to the starting lineup and wins against teams like the Wizards should only help Saric's cause.

"Maybe you see [me start consistently], maybe not," Saric said. "The game first time here I try to find myself. I got a couple rebounds, but still I try to find myself with the new role. I've tried to move around, catch the rhythm of the game, that's the most important thing in basketball."

He appeared to find himself just fine Friday night.

For Shayne Gostisbehere, Dave Hakstol, Stadium Series brings back cherished memories

For Shayne Gostisbehere, Dave Hakstol, Stadium Series brings back cherished memories

PITTSBURGH -- For Flyers coach Dave Hakstol and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, tonight’s Stadium Series game between the Flyers and Penguins brings back memories.
 
Hakstol coached North Dakota in an outdoor hockey in college, while Gostisbehere participated in one as a freshman at Union College.
 
For Hakstol, however, this whole idea of outdoor hockey began when he was growing up in central Alberta in the small town of Drayton Valley.
 
“I think everybody’s got great memories of growing up outdoors,” Hakstol said. “We had a back creek that we could shovel off. I’m sure everybody could sit back and tell you stories of playing on the outdoor rinks.
 
“For me, most recently, I’ve got two kids growing up playing on outdoor rinks, backyard rinks. It’s pretty cool. It takes you right back to the heart of the game.”
 
Hakstol’s outdoor coaching experience came during a game between Nebraska-Omaha and his North Dakota squad in 2013 at the “Mutual of Omaha Battles on Ice.”
 
“I don’t know how to describe it,” Hakstol said of the event. “It’s just a different feel. It’s an ideal scenario.”
 
He said while tonight's game is special, it’s still about the points, first and foremost.
 
“You are cognizant of everything that surrounds the event and the game,” Hakstol said. “Yet for us, it’s two points. We’re fighting for every point here. That is going to paramount.”

Gostisbehere played at Fenway Park in 2012 for Union in a game against Harvard. That night, Union won, 2-0, to become the first ECAC club to ever win outdoors.
 
“I played at Fenway Park against Harvard and it was fun,” Gostisbehere said. “That was my freshman year and the only one I ever played in.
 
“Good crowd. It wasn’t packed obviously, but it was a night game. The ice was really good. It was really cold, too. It was pretty cool.”
 
As warm as it was Friday here -- a historic 78 degrees -- temperatures will begin in the 40s tonight at Heinz Field and then drop. It rained this morning but has since ceased.
 
“The biggest thing for me was to take a second, look around,” Gostisbehere said, admitting he failed to do that in college and won’t make that mistake again.
 
“Just cherish it a little bit. You are so focused on the game, it’s tough. That was biggest thing for me. It was such a blur. Just being in college and having the opportunity to play at Fenway Park was pretty awesome.”

This will the Flyers first-ever outdoor affair in Pittsburgh.
 
“It’s pretty exciting and I’m glad to be part of it,” Gostisbehere said.