Friday, May 02, 2014

Snider backs Holmgren to return next year

The Philadelphia Flyers went through the perfunctory breakup day on Friday, and the effort was not without its controversy.

Team chairman Ed Snider was asked if Paul Holmgren will return next year, and he responded:

"Of course he will. Basically he's the head of our hockey operations. I think he's done an excellent job. Not too many people have the guts to fire the head coach three games into the season. He'll definitely be part of the decision making process next year. I expect our operations to be good, solid hockey men who will make solid decisions."

When pressed on Ron Hextall's role in the organization in light of his confident yet non-committal stance on Holmgren, he offered: "That’s why [Hextall] was brought in. He didn’t come in to stay assistant GM forever, but that doesn’t mean tomorrow."

Hextall's primary duties away from the Flyers themselves, had been to oversee the development of the AHL affiliate, now in the process of relocating from Glens Falls, NY to Allentown, PA where they will play as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms come October. 

Holmgren has served as the franchise's GM since October 22, 2006, when Bob Clarke stepped down amidst a previous franchise-worst start to the 2006-07 season. Prior to that, he spent eight-plus years as Clarke's right-hand man, elevated to assistant GM prior to the 1998-99 campaign. He returned to Philly immediately after being fired as Hartford Whalers head coach early in the 1995-96 season and took on the role of director of pro scouting.

"It’s really Paul’s call. All I have to do is endorse it," Snider added. "If I don’t agree with him, then we have a behind closed door discussion."

Following a season which rode the rollercoaster from a 1-7-0 start to a solid solid second-place standing to losing home-ice advantage and then a Game 7 on the road to the New York Rangers, Snider gave his grade for the club's performance.

"B, probably.  Because we started out so poorly and our record after the poor start was excellent.  I’m anxious to see what Craig Berube can do with a full training camp and a fresh start.  If we play like we did after the horrible start, we’ll be a very, very good team but not necessarily one that can win the Cup, and that’s our goal.  We want to win the Cup and we want to do everything possible to fix whatever we have to fix in order to win it."

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