Dave Hakstol's situation gets even weirder … and better?


What a bizarre and uneasy time for Dave Hakstol.

First, he finds out his future will be a can kicked down the road to a complete outsider after the axing of his previous boss.

Then, a day later, he's actually in consultation with Paul Holmgren about another shake-up, this one involving assistant coach Gord Murphy, who was fired Wednesday along with assistant general manager Chris Pryor.

With that, you wonder if Hakstol would have ever been in consultation over such a personnel move when Ron Hextall was running the show as general manager.

When the Flyers stumbled through the first two months of the season and saw glaring struggles in specific areas — special teams, goaltending, defensive play — the coaching staff of Hakstol, Murphy (defensemen), Kris Knoblauch (power play), Ian Laperriere (penalty kill) and Kim Dillabaugh (goalies) remained untouched.

Another slow start with a core group expected to make bigger strides this season would have suggested some sort of change, which often comes to a coaching staff.

Just two days after Hextall was removed from his GM chair, the Flyers made a change within their coaching group and Hakstol was consulted.

That says a lot.

Would Hakstol have made a switch earlier if consulted? It's fair to question.

Murphy and Laperriere were on staff prior to Hakstol's arrival. Fewer than two months after Hakstol was named head coach, Dillabaugh came to the Flyers from the Kings, where Hextall won a Stanley Cup as an assistant general manager. Knoblauch was brought on board in June 2017, a move Hakstol at least had discussions about with Hextall.

The defense has been one of many sore spots in 2018-19. The Flyers have allowed the NHL's third-most goals per game at 3.59. They've allowed 86 goals through 24 contests compared to 73 in the first 24 last season.

Obviously, this doesn't fall on just the blueliners; it's on the forwards and goalies, too. But the defensemen haven't been great, while Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere have experienced some surprising lumps after stud performances in 2017-18.

Holmgren on Tuesday sounded like he wanted to hear from Hakstol.

"I said if there was anything I could to help you do your job better, please feel free to come and talk to me about it," the Flyers' president said. "Talked a little bit about his staff moving forward, that was about it. He knows, we have the players know, the coaches know, we all know it's about winning. We haven't been winning enough games lately and we need to get back to work."

Ironically, with no GM in place, Hakstol has pull right now while his future is kicked like a can down the road.

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