By Jenny Masters
The NHL is like the CIA.
No one talks, at least not on the record, which is why it is considered a secret society to many fans and much of the media.
I mean the NHL won’t even specify details on injuries:
It’s not a high ankle sprain, as it is in every other pro league.
It’s a “lower body injury.”
So, yesterday’s Flyers firing of coach Alain Vigneault may pass into history without a true explanation, at least not from GM Chuck Fletcher.
Per sources, communication between Vigneault and the players certainly was an issue by the end.
Direct communication between many players and Vigneault was limited, as he took on more of an overseer role and had assistants like Mike Yeo — who tellingly was not relieved of his duties and will slot in as the interim head coach for now — to drive conversations. It’s a tactic that can work when a team is successful; during a long losing streak, not so much.
In addition, frustration mounted in the dressing room with regard to the team’s system.
The staff’s heavy emphasis upon dump-in entries and a lack of support through the neutral zone was wearing thin.
The repeated issue of allowing wide-open players on the backdoor in the defensive zone was attributed to tactical preferences by Vigneault and his staff, particularly with regard to the roving responsibilities of the center. In other words, many players lost faith in the team’s system and the logical result was a collapse in structure and general control of games.