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Takeaways: Dave Scott-Paul Holmgren Press Conference

Notable news, notes & quotes to come out of the media availability

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers

Flyers president Paul Holmgren and Comcast Spectacor Chairman & CEO David Scott addressed the media on Monday to discuss the dismissal on Monday of general manager Ron Hextall. 

Here are four key takeaways from the press conference.

1. IMMEDIATE IMPROVEMENT IS SOUGHT

Both Holmgren and Scott said that Hextall put the organization in good position in terms of stocking up the prospect cupboard, graduating some to the NHL and creating cap-space. The breaking point was Hextall's sole-minded focus on staying with the process he started in 2014 and stuck with ever since.

Taking the next steps toward bettering where the team left off last year -- 98 points in the regular season and a chance to take the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions to seven games despite not playing especially well during the series -- proved to be a breaking point.

"That was a big question: What can we do to make the team better now. Not two or three years from now," Scott said. 

 

2. MORE AGGRESSIVE PURSUIT

Hextall and Scott each said they want to see the next GM be more aggressive in exploring avenues for improving the team in the here-and-now. That was not going to happen with "Hexy" at the helm. Therein likely lay the philosophical differences as pertains to the hockey operations side.

"Ron was unyielding in his plan and remained that way," Holmgren said. 

Later, Holmgren added, "I was a more aggressive guy [as GM]. Ron is more [cautious], well thought-out. Both approaches have their advantages and both probably have some weaknesses."

Scott indicated that he wanted to see an end to the team annually finding itself in a dog fight to get into the playoffs as a wild-card or divisional third seed. Both he and Holmgren want to see the team win more consistently. 

"Our fans deserve better," Scott said.

Holmgren said that the next GM will have a lot of resources at his disposal to improve the team this season or beyond. He did not elaborate except to say that he thinks many different options should be considered and enacted. 

In a practical sense, the strategies could include "hockey trade" possibilities as well as upper management supporting the GM if it means absorbing the cap hits/ term length to acquire useful players that other teams are looking to move mainly for cap reasons. In the longer term, it would also mean the leeway to identify which prospects and picks to keep and which may be expendable due to the depth of the system.

 

3. HOLMGREN MADE THE DECISION

Although Scott acknowledged that he had input in discussions with the team president, the CEO said it was Holmgren who made the final decision on whether to stay the course or seek a new GM.

"We talked a lot about this. Ultimately, it was Paul's recommendation, and I supported Paul," Scott said.

 

4. THE SEARCH BEGINS... IMMEDIATELY

Evaluations and decisions about the coaching staff and player personnel (including which prospects are untouchable and who might me available in trade) will be left to the new general manager. The GM will then act as he sees fit, whether it is this season or beyond.

Scott indicated that the process of interviewing GM candidates and making a hire would take "weeks, not months" but that there is no specific date by which the organization expects to have a new general manager in place.

Scott deemed the process "a full-court press." He pledged that the search would be thorough but that it also important to be expeditious in completing.

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