Greenberg: Shero snubbed again by Hall of Fame

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Greenberg: Shero snubbed again by Hall of Fame

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Posted: 10:23 p.m.

By Jay Greenberg
CSNPhilly.com Contributor

Mark Howe finally is what the players who played with him on three of the best teams to never win a Stanley Cup believed all along: A Hall of Famer. So Tuesday was splendid for the Flyers.

Their best defenseman ever has been elevated to forever, finally getting the ultimate recognition he deserved, leaving one huge oversight corrected and one even bigger one to go.

Fred Shero did not get elected by the 18-member Hall of Fame Committee. Again. And maybe that had something to do with a quota of one Flyer at a time, or with the late Pat Burns, a three-time Coach of the Year and a Stanley Cup winner, not getting in Tuesday either. But Shero, a two-time Cup winner, a three-time Stanley Cup finalist and the brain behind one of the most remembered triumphs in the history of team international sports, coached his last game in 1981. And still has not been inducted.

I just can't understand it, said Bob Clarke Tuesday. It should be easy.

A lot of people who have done less than he did are in the Builders category. I just don't see what else Freddie could have done.

Already in the Hall from Shero's Flyers are Clarke, the sometimes conscienceless captain of maybe the most despised team of all time; Keith Allen, who put it together; Ed Snider, who owned it; plus Bill Barber and Bernie Parent. Are committee members holding only the coach personally responsible for a team still perceived to have stained the game?

I would never have believed the people on the group that makes the selections would have that type of feeling, said Clarke. But there is something going on that is keeping him out. And its not his record for sure.

Among coaches of at least 200 NHL games, Shero is 10th all-time in regular season winning percentage (.612). His record in playoff series was 16-6. He is the only coach who won multiple Stanley Cups since World War II who is not a member of the Hall.

Shero was the first coach to win it all with any of the post-1967 teams, and he came close to a third Cup with what proved over time to be a hardly-loaded Rangers team.

The history of his innovations -- the first to embrace an assistant coach, have game-day skates, put a system of both leaving the zone and forechecking onto paper rather than just reinforced by word of mouth -- would have earned Shero only footnotes had he not won. But he won like only two handfuls of coaches in the games history.

The Flyers were driven by Clarke, backstopped brilliantly by Parent, and relentlessly drilled and manipulated by a man who earned their trust with practically every move he made.

"'Patience and repetition,' that was how he coached, but there was a warmth to him, too, at the same time he kept his distance from us, said Barber Tuesday. And I think his greatest strength of all was as a bench coach.

When things got dull, Bob Kelly went over the boards to get the blood flowing. Freddies timing always was good. He played me with Ricky for the finals against the French Connection and we contained them well to win the second Stanley Cup. There was a reason for him to do that and everything he ever did even if at the time we didnt always understand it.

The strategy for the Russian game was brilliant. Don't get caught up in all the swinging they do. Put your wall up, play your 1-4, do what you do best, relax and play and youll beat them.

Not only did we beat them, but it was a mismatch.

So are the track record and Shero's year-in, year-out denial of an honor he clearly earned, when Emile Francis and Roger Neilson, good coaches who never won a Stanley Cup, have been long inducted.

Is longevity an issue? Shero coached only 10 NHL seasons but would have, should have, coached more had it not taken 13 minor-league years, four championships, and nothing lower than a third place finish in any of those seasons to get his first NHL shot with the Flyers.

I think all these years later people are still envious of the Flyers' success is what I think, said Joe Watson Tuesday.

With three players, the GM and owner of the Broad Street Bullies already in the Hall of Fame, that doesnt seem logical, but neither continues to be Fred Shero not being in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Jay Greenberg covered the Flyers for 14 years for the Daily News and Evening Bulletin. His history of the Flyers, Full Spectrum, was published in 1996. He can be reached at jayg616@aol.com.
Related: Former Flyer Howe elected to Hall of Fame New Flyers arrive in Philly with big skates to fill

Instant Replay: Devils 4, Flyers 1

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Associated Press

Instant Replay: Devils 4, Flyers 1

BOX SCORE

Not even a five-day break in the schedule could save the Flyers from themselves.

Some costly penalties, even costlier mistakes, added up to their fifth loss in six games Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center as the New Jersey Devils torched them, 4-1.

The Devils scored two goals in the final four minutes of the second period to turn a tie game into a 3-1 lead. 

Michal Neuvirth started the game but was relieved by Steve Mason to start the third period. 

This was the first of a back-to-back games. The Flyers came into play 7-4-0 in the first games of such this season. They now have 50 points with a record of 22-19-6.

They went into the break getting burned 5-0 by Washington.

1st goal
Flyers allowed the first tally for the ninth time in 10 games as Pavel Zacha scored off a juicy rebound in the slot off the backhand for an early 1-0 Devils lead.

Notable goals
Kyle Palmieri scored the go-ahead goal in the second period off a 5-on-3 power play after a horrendous clipping call on Radko Gudas from referee Dan O’Halloran (see video), followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to Wayne Simmonds for arguing the call. The entire game changed after that call.

Goalie report
Neuvirth was making his first start since Jan. 14 in Boston when he gave up five goals.

Power play
Couple chances on the first one for the Flyers and Travis Konecny ripped it off the crossbar. He made good on the next power play, jamming the puck under Keith Kinkaid to tie the game at 1-1 just after the PP ended. Overall, the first unit wasn’t very good in this game and the second unit had the goal. Officially, the power play went 0 for 6.

Penalty kill
After yielding five goals over the previous four games, the PK units settled down and killed three straight before the Devils scored off a 5-on-3 power play, then got another power play goal in the third period as well. Devils were 2 for 7.

Injuries
Gudas went hard into the back boards after a takedown from Miles Wood in the first period but seemed OK.

Fights
Wayne Simmonds improved to 2-0-1 after a bout with Wood (see video).

Scratches
This was Game 47 – the first time all season the Flyers have had an entirely healthy lineup. Defensemen Brandon Manning and Nick Schultz (both healthy); forward Dale Weise (healthy).

Up next
This is the 12th set of back-to-back games for the Flyers. They face the Islanders on Sunday night in Brooklyn. They will play 18 sets this season.

End to End: Will Ron Hextall dip into Flyers' farm system before season's end?

End to End: Will Ron Hextall dip into Flyers' farm system before season's end?

Throughout the season, we'll ask questions about the Flyers to our resident hockey analysts and see what they have to say.
 
With the Flyers returning from the bye week, let’s discuss a few topics.
 
Going End to End this week are CSNPhilly.com producers/reporters Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone.
 
Today’s question: Will we see Ron Hextall dip into the farm system before season's end?
 
Dougherty
This is a tough question because it has layers, some of which are not easy to peel. According to CapFriendly.com, the Flyers have about $377,545 in cap space. They are not in a cap-friendly position, which ties Hextall’s hands in any move he’d want to do.
 
The Flyers, as currently constructed, are a fringe playoff team with a long-term plan, and Hextall has shown no signs of deviating from his vision. That means no big shakeups. It also means, however, that dipping into the farm system is a legitimate option for Hextall. He has said in the past he’d make room for kids if they are NHL ready, and he has. He has to ask himself, would bringing up a prospect at Lehigh Valley improve the Flyers?
 
Perhaps it would. The Flyers do have an influx of young blood on the way, perhaps as early as next season. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities to see three more kids on the roster when 2017-18 begins. DefensemenRobert Hagg, Sam Morin and Travis Sanheim are knocking at the door, and then there is Philippe Myers, too. The Flyers have three expiring contracts on the books, and they will not block kids with Band-aids.
 
But the question is this season. Would Hagg, Morin or Sanheim upgrade the Flyers’ defense? Hagg is “just about NHL-ready,” Morin stuck around training camp longer than expected and Sanheim has found his footing in the professional ranks. It certainly would not hurt to bring one of them up, but a corresponding move would have to be made.
 
That would mean Hextall would have to find a trading partner to clear space and room on the 23-man roster for one of the kids. Michael Del Zotto, Mark Streit and Nick Schultz will all be unrestricted free agents come July 1. Del Zotto and Streit could be attractive options for teams at the trade deadline, if the Flyers decided clear way for a prospect.
 
However, I don’t see the Flyers dipping into Lehigh Valley unless injuries start hitting the NHL roster. There are too many roadblocks with the salary cap to realistically see Hextall being able to move a body out in order to inject more youth to the Flyers.
 
Hall
My gut tells me Hextall will make at least one move at the trade deadline.
 
Why not?
 
It makes for an opportune time to clear cap space and expedite the rebuild.
 
As Tom noted above, Streit, Del Zotto and Schultz are all unrestricted free agents after this season. If you don’t think any of those three can be moved, remember Hextall found a way to deal Kimmo Timonen, who was 39 years old and without a game played in 2014-15 because of blood clots, for a 2015 second-round draft pick and 2016 conditional pick.
 
And don’t forget role forwards Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde — cheap and also set to be UFAs this offseason.
 
So the cap-stricken Flyers have trade chips and aren’t contending for a Stanley Cup this season. Which brings us to the question of will Hextall dip into the farm system before season’s end? I see it happening with some room made after the trade deadline.
 
That doesn’t mean the Flyers can’t compete for the playoffs, either.
 
Paone
To me, this question comes with an "if" attached to it for a couple of reasons. The first is because of how hell-bent Hextall is on keeping the Flyers' prospects in Lehigh Valley for seasoning until he believes they're truly ready for the NHL level. And the second depends on where the Flyers are in the standings. If they come out of this bye week hot and pick up points to rise back into legitimate playoff talk, Hextall will likely sit pat and let this group play it out. If things continue to unravel, then the Flyers move into seller mode before the March 1 trade deadline. If what we've been conditioned to over this recent miserable stretch is reality, that's the path we're heading down.
 
So if the Flyers do sell, it's inevitable that a prospect or two makes it up from the Phantoms toward the end of the season because there will finally be some space on the roster to fit in. If the Flyers are all but out of the playoff hunt, bringing a prospect up and letting him play in the NHL level for the last month and change of the season can do wonders for a prospect's confidence heading into next season. Life in the NHL is much different than the bus ride-filled life in the AHL. Once you get a taste, you don't want to go back if you don't have to. And that's a motivating factor heading into training camp.
 
The next question is who would be brought up? That's a question I don't think is fair to answer right now because only Hextall, his staff and his coaches know who they feel could be ready for a call-up. Of course, the Phantoms are loaded with talent on the back end and that's where the Flyers could use a jolt. To speculate on exactly who that could be right now just wouldn't be fair, in my opinion. 
 
But, for right now before the schedule picks up again this weekend with dates against the Devils and Islanders, this prospect call-up scenario still fits under the "if" scenario. 
 
But if the Flyers continue to falter out of the bye week, I feel seeing a prospect or two with the big club before season's end is inevitable.