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Should Dave Hakstol be on the hot seat?

Dave Hakstol could not be more on the hot seat. The fourth year head coach has his team off to another brutal start, getting off on the wrong foot with a 4-7 record. As mentioned on the 5 Minute Major podcast, not even Gritty can save Hakstol.

Hakstol’s teams have been a mix of gritty (no pun intended) when they’re playing right, and a sloppy mess when they’re not playing well. They are legitimately the most unpredictable team in the league, as you saw last season. Just a year ago, the Flyers followed up a ten game losing streak with a ten game winning streak.

Is it all Hakstol’s fault? Absolutely not. Shayne Gostisbehere has been a ghost all season long, Nolan Patrick isn’t interested in shoring up the middle six, and the Flyers have a better shot calling Ron Hextall out of retirement than being able to rely on Michael Nevurith or Brian Elliott.

The Flyers were good last season for two reasons; Claude Giroux had a career year with 100 points, on a very top heavy forward group, and Ivan Provarov stepped up as a top four D-man after not being relied upon early in the season.

Giroux is having an alright season, but when Wayne Simmonds and Jake Voracek are struggling, Hakstol has no one to rely on in his bottom six and his defense has failed him time and time again.  The Flyers look exhausted but it’s only been 11 games.  Those failures have to be at least somewhat on the coach.

So now the question becomes, should Dave Hakstol be on the hot seat for his team’s poor start?  The answer is a resounding yes, but the solution is a bit more complex than just firing Hakstol.

For starters, look at how the Flyers ended their season last year?  It’s only been 11 games and pulling the trigger this early could send this team into a tailspin.  There’s no reason to believe with all the talent that the Flyers have that they can’t turn it around within a month.

The second and more important issue at task;  Who is going to replace Hakstol if he’s fired?  Is it Gord Murphy, who has been fired twice as an assistant coach and has never gotten a head coaching gig despite being an assistant for 15 years?  What about Ian Laperriere, who is closer to playing again in the NHL than he is to coaching?

There’s no alternative right now, and firing Hakstol may cause more harm than good.  For now, the Flyers need to ride out this storm and hopefully improve by December.  If November is just as bad as October was, then it may be time to pull the plug on this experiment.  Until then, it’s the wild and unpredictable coaching of Dave Hakstol.


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