Ed Snider shares his unhappiness with Flyers' poor record

Ed Snider shares his unhappiness with Flyers' poor record

March 30, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Ed Snider did his best to hide how awful he feels about what has become of his hockey club.

On a glorious spring morning with a couple hundred fans in attendance, the Flyers founding father dedicated the new “Walk Together Forever” statue outside of the Broad Street Bullies Pub (see story).

“I'm really happy that it's come to fruition,” Snider said. “I wish that it had come at a happier time, but we scheduled it and we've done it and we've got great fans.

“It's great to see them all here. They're still behind us. That means an awful lot to the organization.”

Snider didn’t mince his words about how utterly disappointed he is with the product on the ice and vowed there would be changes this offseason.

He gave general manager Paul Holmgren a vote of confidence, but when asked about coach Peter Laviolette, he deferred to Holmgren.

“I don't want to talk about anything about when the season ends, who's safe and who isn't safe,” Snider replied. “These are decisions Paul Holmgren is going to have to make, not me.”

Said Holmgren: “I don’t even think about that stuff. After the season, everything gets evaluated and we go from there. Our coaches -- nobody is happy with the position we are in. … It’s difficult to talk about right now. I think the coaches do a good job.”

Snider said when the lockout ended he thought this squad was a playoff team capable of a high seed.

“We came into the season with high expectations, and it just seems like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong,” Snider said. “But the good teams overcome that and we've got to find a way to regroup, and I guarantee you we'll be a heck of a lot better.”

Fans want to know why the club has stood pat for two months while the team floundered. Honestly, there is not one or two moves Holmgren could make right now to change this team’s fate for this season.

Snider seemed to agree.

“There's no sense in showing desperation or making moves that you're not sure of, and we want to evaluate everything when the season's over,” he said.

“It's premature to even thing about it. We still have a slight chance for the playoffs. We haven't given up. We're realistic. We're in a really tough spot. But we want to look at the whole thing when the season's over.”

He said he would “not make excuses” but the combination of a very tough early schedule that collided with injuries got the team “off on the wrong foot.” And it has never recovered.

Then again, he was adamant that the organization and players have only themselves to blame.

“We are where we are because we deserve to be where we are,” Snider said.

Snider said the least talked-about issue has been the devastating trickle-down effect of not having Chris Pronger, who will likely never play again because of post-concussion syndrome.

“Well, we were trying to overcome the loss of Pronger,” he said of last summer’s decision to go after defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.

“We don't talk about it that often, but Pronger ... we gave up a lot to get him and he was a force for us. Not having him has really been rough. It would the same as Boston without [Zdeno] Chara. He was a force and we miss that.

“We know that our defense has struggled. We've had injuries. [Andrej] Meszaros was a solid defenseman for us and really hasn't played much this year.

“Now we don't have [Nick] Grossmann. We don't have [Braydon] Coburn. That's actually four of our defensemen that would have been our top four. That's tough to overcome.”

Snider wanted the club to sign Ilya Bryzgalov to a long-term deal, and despite the Russian’s up and down season, the chairman still stands behind his goaltender.

“I don't think Bryzgalov has been the problem,” Snider said. “I mean, he's had to face so many breakaways and 2-on-1s where we turn over the puck suddenly. I think it's the team. I think we're fine in goal.”

Even though the Flyers are mathematically alive for a playoff spot, reality says that it's not going to happen. Snider didn’t deny that, either.

“You always hope that you're going to get it together, but look at our record,” he said. “We haven't won one game where we were behind 1-0 after the first period or something like that.

“We haven't had more than a two-game winning streak all year. I mean, it's been a disappointment the entire season. Let's hope that we can change it suddenly and some miracle will happen and we win all the remaining games.

“I'm not giving up. But you have to be realistic and look at what we've accomplished so far. We have to do an awful lot to change that pattern.”

As for the offseason …

“We always try to improve no matter what level we're at,” he said. “Obviously, we've got a lot of work to do to get back to where we want to be.”