• November 28, 2022

In Firing Fallout, Criticism of Snider Somewhat Misplaced

EdSnider_AngryDefending Ed Snider after the events of this afternoon is kind of like saying “the United States government is filled with capable, responsible politicians.” There’s just no way to follow that statement without asking, “How did we get into this mess?”

There has been a lot of criticism, both here and around the ever volatile sounding board that is the internet, placed against Snider for the situation that the Philadelphia Flyers organization now finds itself in three games into the 2013-14 NHL season.

Snider didn’t do himself any favors when becoming defensive this afternoon after a reporter asked if the team needed a “fresh perspective.”

“Given the fact that you guys haven’t won a Cup in 38 years, why bring in somebody who is steeped in that sort of culture?”

“What’s that culture?”

“A culture that hasn’t won a Championship.”

“We’ve been in the Stanley Cup Finals a lot of times and we’ve been in the playoffs a lot of times and the culture is to win. Thirty teams are trying to win the Cup and we’re doing our damndest to do it. That’s our culture.”

“But-”

“THAT’S OUR CULTURE… We don’t need a fresh perspective.”

That last statement has been spun into an image by critics that the organization can’t succeed because it refuses to acknowledge where it has made mistakes. It’s not an entirely inaccurate image, as many of the big, sweeping decisions that have been made over the last few years (*cough* Bryzgalov *cough*) have clearly been influenced by his reactions to how the team performed at the previous season’s exit.

In May of 2012, following the Flyers’ 2nd round loss to the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Semifinals, I penned this:

“The best thing that general manager Paul Holmgren can do as he develops his strategy for the offseason is stand back, take a deep breath, and ignore Mr. Snider.  It’s not that, as the only owner of the franchise throughout its 45-year existence, he doesn’t deserve to be a part of the process.

The problem is that he’s a fan too.

Ed Snider wants the team to ‘win now’ probably more than anyone in Philadelphia, but when he gives Holmgren directions, it’s most likely based on emotional decisions. He’s not the type of guy that’s going to review the list of available free agents and evaluate them based on age, health, offensive zone starts, CORSI rating, etc. He’s the type to say, ‘I want Shea Weber by any means necessary.’ “

Snider absolutely deserves criticism for the direction that the team is headed, but the amount of resentment frothing from the fanbase and media isn’t completely justified.

The kill floor that is the Philadelphia mainstream media “press conference” isn’t the right place to be having this kind of conversation. As much as Snider’s tone during that exchange has been written about, the reporter came in with a loaded question following a very obviously difficult decision.

Peter Laviolette never played for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was never drafted by the Flyers. When the team became complacent under John Stevens at the beginning of the 2009-10 NHL season, the Flyers went with someone completely outside of their “inner circle” who had an excellent coaching pedigree and a Stanley Cup under his belt.

The casual observer may have looked at that team and their 13-11-1 record and figured, “Well, obviously they’re the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.” But lo and behold, that team came within two games of winning the Stanley Cup.

Laviolette’s canning this afternoon also marked the 25th coaching change in the NHL in the last three seasons. Suffice it to say, every coach has a shelf life and while Laviolette was given an opportunity to fix the situation that began almost two seasons ago, the team has looked terrible from the beginning of camp.

So let’s circle back to this reporter’s question. “Given the fact that you guys haven’t won a Cup in 38 years, why bring in somebody who is steeped in that sort of culture?”

What kind of loaded question is that? How would anyone else react in that situation?

I have no idea if Craig Berube is going to lead the Flyers to a Stanley Cup victory in June. I also don’t know if any of the other coaching changes made in the last year- Alain Vigneault in New York, John Tortorella in Vancouver, Dallas Eakins in Edmonton, Lindy Ruff in Dallas, Ron Rolston in Buffalo, Peter Laviolette in wherever the next NHL coach is fired from- are going to amount to success either. Nobody knows, and certainly they can’t all win, so at least five of these gentlemen will be fostering a culture of “failure” this year by not winning the Stanley Cup.

Berube, though, is very well respected among the players and has been in charge of the Flyers’ penalty killing for years. He has been learning the coaching ropes within the organization since 2004. If the front office was looking to find someone that could very quickly earn the player’s trust but kick them out of their complacency, is Berube really that bad of a selection?

This reporter implied that Berube can’t possibly succeed because that involvement with the organization means he’s going to stink, as opposed to bringing in an outsider like they did with Laviolette. Snider reacted poorly to it, but it was a question for which there was no fair answer to give.

Many comparisons have been made today to former head coach Ken Hitchcock’s firing in 2006 after the team fell to an early 1-6-1 record. Snider’s reactions at that that time might sound pretty familiar.

Per Chuck Gormley’s Orange, Black & Blue: The Greatest Philadelphia Flyers Stories Never Told:

“We had an opening game and we weren’t ready for it,” Snider said, his blood beginning to percolate. “How can you not be ready for a season opener?”

“And did you see last night’s game?” Snider continued, now in a raging boil. “A performance like that will not be tolerated. More important, when a team is playing as bad as we are, how do you evaluate new talent when you can’t evaluate old talent?”

“The whole damn stinks.”

That last statement was as much of an indictment of former general manager Bobby Clarke as it was of Hitchcock. Clarke, if you recall, brought in the likes of Kyle Calder, Geoff Sanderson, Boyd Kane and Nolan Baumgartner during the offseason.

By comparison, Paul Holmgren brought in this past offseason Ray Emery, Mark Streit and Vinny Lecavalier.

Retaining Laviolette after last year’s team failed to make the playoffs may have been a mistake, but Holmgren’s decision was justifiable given the lockout shortened season. With the team looking as bad as it has this early on, though, it also makes sense why they chose to make a change before it was too late.

There’s never anything wrong with a fresh perspective. Realistically, the Flyers’ organization needs to try something different beyond throwing bags of money at random, talented free agents. Perhaps developing a plan with a series of steps to achieve that plan would be a nice change of pace, instead of the emotional roller coaster that is “What crazy thing will the Flyers do next?”

Arguing with Ed Snider that “you have a culture of not winning the Stanley Cup,” though, is stupid.

Josh Janet

Josh Janet was raised in Northern New Jersey, but by an odd set of circumstances, is a Philadelphia sports fan. While recently converted to the Phillies, Josh is a diehard Flyers fan and can be expected to stay on top of the latest NHL news.

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jott1972
jott1972
October 7, 2013 8:39 pm

like the Phillies, the Flyers hold no one in the front office accountable…. the coaches do what they can with what they are given…. Amaro & Holmgren are one of the worst GMs in their respective sports….. absolutely awful but they continue to keep their jobs and collect a nice paycheck.

paulman
paulman
October 7, 2013 8:52 pm

Ed Snider is the Al Davis (of his later years) of the NHL
A meddlesome, “GM wanna-be who runs a old and dated system
Of evaluating talent, drafting players, developing players
And overall Management of the Flyers Frabchise that used to be some Special
Not only in Hockey and Philsdelphia, but in the ocerall Sports Industry but those days have long been gone and started back with GM Clarke Tenure and the asanine handling of the whole Eric Lindross Fiasco and all the subsequent bone- head moves since then ..
As the current fiasco continues, the reality is that the a Flyers is not the enviable Organization for Players & Coaches to play or work for any longer and haven’t been for a while, I just believe now that many Fans & Local Media are finally waking up to this fact..
Ed Snider has become so full of himself and delusional at times, that he is deteriorated the Flyers Mystique and Brand that he worked so hard to build just like Al Davis did with his Oakland Raiders
It’s a shame to have seen, but Ed Snider is the root of all that’s wrong with the Flyers..

timm00
timm00
October 8, 2013 11:43 am
Reply to  paulman

I’ve used the Al Davis analogy many times. It’s dead on. There was a time and place where that approach to building a team worked very well.

That time is long in the rear-view mirror.

RegalEagle
RegalEagle
October 7, 2013 10:39 pm

I agree with Josh.

The problem with Mr. Snider is that he is just like Paulman but with the power to act on his emotional whims. He is a Fan and that is Awesome but horrible at the same time.

DCar
DCar
October 8, 2013 12:30 am

How is the criticism misplaced? It’s about damn time, the ball-less media slurpers, criticize him. 20 years too late. He is as arrogant, stubborn, condescending, & blindly loyal as they get. Until he either croaks, sells the team, or drastically changes his frame of mind, in constantly having muckers, grinders, goons, with NO offensive talent, we will NEVER win a cup again! Every freaking year, we are the slowest, overpaid, underachieving team in the league, that ALWAYS has defensive & goalie ????’s It’s sickening! How’s about getting defense-men that can defend & get shots on the net? Hows about not having 4th liners on your 2nd & 3rd lines? How’s about stop wasting $$$ & roster spots, on non-talented goons? How’s about not giving the “C”, to inexperienced, non-warranted players? How’s about having actual scorers on your top 2 lines, instead of 3rd liners? How’s about a GM that isn’t inept? How’s about not giving ridiculous contracts, with no trade clauses, to every player you sign? How’s about going outside the organization for a fresh voice, & perspective, instead of the goon, mucker, retreads, of the Broad St. bully past?!?!?!? How’s about that?!!!!!!?

DCar
DCar
October 8, 2013 1:28 am

Executive Management
Chairman- Ed Snider
President and C.O.O. of Comcast-Spectacor- Peter Luukko
General Manager- Paul Holmgren
Senior Vice President- Bob Clarke
Executive Vice President- Keith Allen
Governor- Ed Snider
Alternate Governors- Peter Luukko, Phil Weinberg
Senior Vice President, Business Operations- Shawn Tilger
Executive Assistant
Ann Marie Nasuti
Executive Assistant Cheri Arnao
Executive Assistant Sharon Allison

Hockey Club Personnel
Assistant General Manager & Director of Hockey Operations-
Ron Hextall
Assistant General Manager- Barry Hanrahan
Head Coach- Craig Berube
Assistant Coach- Ian Laperriere
Assistant Coach- Joe Mullen
Assistant Coach- John Paddock
Goaltending Coach- Jeff Reese
Video Coach- Adam Patterson
Player Development- Derian Hatcher
Player Development- Kjell Samuelsson
Director of Scouting- Chris Pryor
Head of Pro Scouting- Dave Brown
Pro Scout- John Chapman
Pro Scout- Al Hill
Pro Scout- Don Luce
College Scout- Wade Clarke
College Scout- Ross Fitzpatrick
Scout- Andre Beaulieu
Scout- Mark Greig
Scout- Joakim Grundberg
Scout- Todd Hearty
Scout- Ken Hoodikoff
Scout- Neil Little
Scout- Jack McIlhargey
Scout- Antero Niittymaki
Scout- Simon Nolet
Scout- Dennis Patterson
Scout- Nick Pryor
Scout- John Riley
Scout- Ilkka Sinisalo
Scout- Vaclav Slansky
Director of Team Services- Bryan Hardenbergh
Executive Assistant- Dianna Taylor
Executive Assistant- Jody Clarke
See above! Littered with with X-stiffs, failures, goons, muckers & grinders. All that needs to be said!

DCar
DCar
October 8, 2013 1:34 am

Oh, & here is the minor league affiliate-

PHANTOMS OPERATIONS STAFF
Paul Holmgren- General Manager
John Paddock- Assistant General Manager
Terry Murray- Head Coach
Riley Cote- Assistant Coach
Kjell Samulesson- Assistant Coach
Mike Pacitti- Video Coach
Greg Lowden- Head Athletic Trainer
Damion Parmelee- Equipment Manager
Jeff Shockley- Strength and Conditioning Coach
Enough said!

frankdialogue
October 8, 2013 3:10 am

DCar summed it all up…’Homer’ should have been out the fookin’ door, too.
All those former flyboys on the staff, it’s like a retirement home, for God’s sake!

eagles0superbowls
eagles0superbowls
October 8, 2013 7:07 am

Obviously the Flyers will be fore checking like crazy against Florida so the game should be entertaining at the start.
Craig Berube got the best out of Ty McGinn but he also may have gotten his face broken with his motivating bench ear whispers. If Berube gets this team’s passion turned around the IR will be littered with effort to achieve that success.
Flyers will make trades to accommodate Berube’s direction. I wonder which youngster will be the first to be dealt.

paulman
paulman
October 8, 2013 7:42 am

Think of former Oakland Raiders Owner “Al Davis”, Enough said..

eagles0superbowls
eagles0superbowls
October 8, 2013 10:09 am
Reply to  paulman

the local media sure was laughing at him after that press conference. i have to give Howard Eskin credit for starting the press conference off with a confrontational question. Snider didn’t deserve soft balls yesterday.

E-money
E-money
October 8, 2013 4:49 pm

The Flyers culture is not winning, their culture is bullying. You’ve seen it from Snider many times over the years, getting nasty with reporters. Clarke used to do the same thing. It all stems from that series against St. Louis all those years ago, Snider decided he was never going to be bullied again. He’s surrounded himself with muscle-headed yes-men for years (Brown, Berube, Holmgren, Hatcher). These guys were never considered smart back when they played, they were goons. How many other teams/companies promote their goons into decision-making executives?
I’ll give him credit where it’s due, he’s always been willing to spend, but if he couldn’t win in 30+ years before the salary cap, how is he ever going to win now that he has to spend intelligently?

frankdialogue
October 8, 2013 5:46 pm

I’m not in favor of trading young guys.

The Flyers problem is lack of stamina for 60 minutes.

You need 3-4 strong lines + a defensive rotation that can sustain for 60 minutes on the ice.

haveacigar
haveacigar
October 9, 2013 12:44 pm

Ed snider in his interview the other night with michael barkann looked and sounded like the old man in the neighborhood who if you hit the ball in his yard you would just let it lie there…. he’s that old bastard that would come out yelling at you!