Snider plans to attend the Flyers’ game this Saturday in Los Angeles.
By Lewis Gould
Haven’t we all seen this movie before?
The Flyers start the season as potential Stanley Cup contenders, at least in the opinion of the butt-boy local media, and then the season starts and they settle into mediocrity.
So they trot out their chairman to call them out and then when that doesn’t work they fire a coach or a general manager and things improve for a while before the team reaches its true level.
Which this season is as bad as we have seen since the late 1960s, when they were an expansion team.
Sure enough, chairman Ed Snider is pissed off, and he let out his frustration by way of a telephone conversation from his home in Montecito, Calif., with Sam Carchidi of the Inquirer, who probably didn’t think to ask the most overrated owner in town if his absence might be a metaphor the Flyers’ awfulness.
Here are the quotes from that convo:
“Never seen anything like it in all the years I’ve been in hockey. Even when we were an expansion team” in 1967-68, “somebody chipped in here and there.”
“It’s not going to be an easy fix if we can’t get more production out of our players. You can’t be a one-line team and win in this league,” said Snider, who plans to attend Saturday’s game in Los Angeles and says he is hopeful the West Coast trip turns things around.
Snider said the Flyers miss the presence of veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen, “but basically it’s a similar team as last year, and it’s very hard for me to understand what’s going on. It’s the coach’s job to fix it, and the GM’s job to do whatever he can to help the coach.”
“All teams are having cap problems. We’ll find a way to work around it,” said Snider, whose team finished 42-30-10 last season. “In the meantime, that’s not the issue. The issue is that we have pretty much the same team as last year, and we’re not performing. We’re hoping they can turn it around. We have two of the best forwards in the league, but two players can’t turn around a team. What’s going on with everybody else? What’s going on with [Sean] Couturier, [Matt] Read, Simmonds, and the other guys? They should be chipping in with some goals. It’s weird. I’m not going to give up on those guys. Even [Vinny] Lecavalier got 20 goals last year. What happened?”
“When you have two players like Voracek and Giroux, you really just need your second and third lines to chip in periodically to help them out, and that’s not happening.”
“Guys can’t go the whole year without scoring,” he said. “That would be the most shocking thing I’ve ever seen.”
Asked to evaluate coach Craig Berube, Snider said “That’s not my job, but I just know he did a very good job last year and he’s the same guy. It’s not that the team isn’t playing a good system, it’s just a lack of scoring, and Berube can’t go out and score for those guys.”
If the Flyers don’t regroup soon, is it time to go into a rebuilding mode?
“It’s premature to even discuss that,” Snider said. “We have to know what we have and what we don’t have. I haven’t given up on this year. We’re not the first team to go through a bad situation for a period of time. There’s three-quarters of the season left, so ask me that in a couple months.”