Comcast/Spectacor Chairman and CEO Dave Scott discussed the state of the Flyers on Thursday in a remote question-and-answer video press conference. Among other topics, he talked about the team's dramatic on-ice improvements this season before the NHL pause, the club's stellar home record in 2019-20 and its effect Wells Fargo Center atmosphere, the hirings of Chuck Fletcher as general manager and then Alain Vigneault as head coach, and the state of planning for next season amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Q: Before the season you were very confident with this team. What is your expectations for this team during the playoffs?
Dave Scott: If you go back to when we stopped, I'll never forget March 12, the team was sitting in Tampa and we were ready. I'm still very excited and feel great about the team. You look at all the key stats, whether it was five-on-five, special teams. We took a big step then stopped there in March. I feel good. Expectations are high. It's hard with this four month pause but everybody's in the same boat, starting in the same place. We're optimistic. We're in it.
Q: This is a season where the team was dominant on home ice. Can you feel the enthusiasm growing in the building? Eventually, the team started winning on the road, too, but the home record was strong all season.
Scott: It was wonderful. The energy was great in the building. That's the best since I've been around we've ever played at home. Look at the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. We had a tremendous record this season. I thoroughly enjoyed it and we're ready for the next step here.
Q: What stands out to you that you knew Alain Vigneault was the guy? What is your evaluation on the job he's done?
Scott: We spent a lot of time looking at his history before he got here and I've gotten to know him pretty well. We actually live in the same neighborhood down in Old City Philadelphia. He's just a terrific guy. He's confident, no nonsense. I love the way he coaches and runs his play. He's really got the respect from whole organization, from the whole team. You look at the beginning of last season, everybody had to adjust to the new systems, process and the new coaching. He's just done a tremendous job for us. I think really with him coming on board it was a new day for the Flyers.
Q: How happy are you with the team now with the moves that Chuck Fletcher has made?
Scott: I couldn't be happier with what we've done. What was done at the trade deadline, the new guys coming in, Kevin and the others. I think we got it right. It's a great balance, the new additions. The vets fit in really great with the whole team. I've been over here on Tuesday, and again today, the chemistry's great and everybody's working together. I couldn't be happier with what he's put together.
Q: When does it get back to the point that anything less than a championship is failure?
Scott: I think you know our history and our culture. It really started with Ed Snider, but we come in and we invest. We really go for it every year. We made some big changes a couple years ago, which needed to be made. I like the team we have together now, the front office and the coaching staff. Expectations are high. I think we'll continue to forge ahead. We're still early in this thing and I think we'll know a lot more as we get into the next couple weeks and going into the playoffs. I'm optimistic. I think we've worked hard and we have as good a chance as anybody up there.
Q: How much of an inspiration has Oskar Lindblom been to you personally and for the organization?
Scott: He's just such a wonderful young man, quality guy. I did get to spend a little bit of time with him through this. I actually had him and his family in my suite a couple times, with just us so I got to know him better. Can't say enough about him. He's such a fighter. He's so passionate. We all love him. The Flyers organization, the players. He loves us. We're thrilled that we were able to come to terms on next steps with him. I know he's going to have a great future with us.
Q: The City of Philadelphia is sending mixed signals with no fans until the end of February, but then stepped back on that and said that teams could decide. Do you have any clarification on that? What would that do to the organization financially if you would not be allowed to have fans?
Scott: We're a little disappointed to see that order. As we have gotten to understand it more, that's a long time away through February. I don't think we have full clarity from the Mayor's office or the City. That's a long time away. We're hopeful that date could move up. In terms of what it does financially, our idea was always to start with social distancing as we kind of came back for the next season. It hurts a little bit, but it's not the end of the world. The goal is start the next season, at least have the games on television. Never really had the expectation by this fall or late this year, we'd really be in in a position to have fans in the building. I think as we get into calendar '21, we got a lot of thoughts around social distancing and kind of ramping up from there as people feel safer. Hopefully we get a vaccination at some point here in the not so distant future.