Flyers GM Hextall declines to make decision on Berube’s job
VOORHEES, N.J. (AP) Craig Berube is still the Philadelphia Flyers head coach – for now.
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday he still had not made a decision on Berube’s fate following a season that saw the team miss the playoffs.
The Flyers players gave, at best, lukewarm reviews this week of Berube following a 33-31-18 (84 points) season.
”I’m going to do everything I can to do the due diligence that’s appropriate to make the decision,” Hextall said. ”Once I get there, then we’ll let people know. I’m not going to make a hasty decision and look back and regret it.”
The Flyers haven’t won a Stanley Cup since hoisting two straight in 1974 and 1975. Philadelphia lost in the Stanley Cup finals in 1976, 1980, 1985, 1987, 1997 and 2010.
Hextall told Berube on Sunday he would need more time to complete his evaluation of the second-year coach. Berube took over from the fired Peter Laviolette four games into the 2013-14 season and led the Flyers to the playoffs.
The Flyers went 42-27-10 under Berube last season and lost a seven-game playoff series to the New York Rangers. He is 75-58-28 in two seasons.
Berube has one season left on his contract.
”I’m evaluating, but if you’re asking me whether he made any mistakes or not, that’s probably a question for him,” Hextall said. ”Some of our players probably didn’t play well enough. I think that’s fair to say.”
Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds bemoaned a lack of leadership in the locker room. Vinny Lecavalier, once one of the best players in the NHL, made it clear he had almost no interest in a third season in Philadelphia if Berube returned. Hextall said he will not buy out Lecavalier.
Voracek and team captain Claude Giroux spent most of the season in the hunt for an NHL scoring title and each finished with some stout stats: Voracek had 22 goals and 81 points (six points behind Dallas’ Jamie Benn) and Giroux had 25 goals and 73 points.
Simmonds led the Flyers with 28 goals and goalie Steve Mason’s .928 save percentage was second-best in team history and his 2.25 GAA was the lowest for a Flyers goalie since 2003-04. Defenseman Mark Streit had 52 points.
The 49-year-old Berube said Monday he was not concerned about the speculation surrounding his future.
”What bothers me is not making the playoffs,” Berube said.
Hextall said he expected Philadelphia will be a playoff team next season. The Flyers have been in a win-now mode since the heyday of the Broad Street Bullies, and always believed they were one big trade or marquee free agent away from winning it all.
Hextall, the first-year Flyers GM, said that philosophy isn’t in play this summer.
”Are we going to try and win the Stanley Cup? Yes. Along with the 29 other teams,” he said. ”But we are not going to trade top young players for 29-30 year olds to try to take a one-year run at the Cup. That is not going to happen.”