It was a crazy Sunday for the Flyers, but they made it official on Monday afternoon.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) December 17, 2018
The writing was on the wall when the Flyers relieved Ron Hextall of his duties as general manager, and the past few weeks have done Hakstol no favors. Chuck Fletcher said he would evaluate the current team, including the coaching staff, before making any moves, and he traveled on the five-game road trip with the team. What he saw was the opposite of encouraging.
Fletcher saw the Flyers come back to beat the Sabres last Saturday before losing four straight in Canada to close out the trip. Those four losses included a backbreaking loss to Calgary and three uninspired efforts in what were essentially blowouts.
Hakstol was hired by the Flyers after the 2014-15 season. He is the first head coach to go directly from the NCAA to the NHL since 1982.
Hakstol coached the Flyers to the playoffs in 2016 and 2018, but both times the team lost in the first round.
The team will have Phantoms coach Scott Gordon as an interim head coach for the time being.
Gordon is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Flyers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He was named to the position on July 13, 2015. In 254 games with the Phantoms, Gordon has a record of 144-86-15. He led the club back to the playoffs in 2017 after a seven-season absence, and in 2018 guided the Phantoms to the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Gordon was the head coach of the New York Islanders for parts of three seasons (2008-09 to 2010-11), and also served as the head coach of the Providence Bruins, the AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins, from 2002-2008 after working as an assistant there for two seasons. Gordon’s 2004-05 team reached the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals, where it lost to the then-Philadelphia Phantoms, the eventual Calder Cup champion that season. His 2007-08 team finished with the AHL’s best regular-season record in that campaign, going 55-18-7.
Prior to joining the Phantoms, Gordon was an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2011-2014. He also has head coaching experience in the ECHL with Roanoke (1998-2000) and was an assistant coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (Quebec, 1996-98) and the International Hockey League (Atlanta, 1994-96).
Hakstol was in his fourth season as the head coach of the Flyers after being hired on May 18, 2015. He posted a record of 134-101-42 in 277 games.
Next up? Possibly Joel Quenneville.