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Ed Snider defends Flyers’ front-office strategies: ‘I always want to win’

Feb 14, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

Ed Snider

The past few years have seen the championship-starved Philadelphia Flyers fanbase grow increasingly critical of chairman Ed Snider over the team’s inability to bring home the Stanley Cup. The orange and black are among the most active franchises in the NHL when it comes to signing free agents and making trades, perhaps to the club’s detriment in some instances.

Snider defended his organization’s front-office practices in an interview for Friday’s edition of the Inquirer, stating repeatedly that his goal is to win. He took exception to the word “desperate” being used to describe the team’s approach, and brushed aside claims that his age had anything to do with the team’s approach.

“I always want to win.”

Specifically,what columnist Mike Sielski is getting at when he confronts Snider is the attitude that the Flyers are always “going for it,” suggesting some of the results have done more harm than good.

You know the kind of shortsighted acquisitions we’re talking about. Swapping prospects for big names that never quite seem to get the team over the hump. Tying up huge sums of money in aging veterans whose best days are well behind them. Any move that would mortgage the future or stunt the development of young players in a failed quest to deliver the Cup.

Snider reveals he isn’t feeling pressure to change though. While he agrees the Flyers have made plenty of mistakes along the way, he is adamant that the team is always moving in the right direction as long as it has one purpose in mind.

That’s what you might believe, Mike, but that’s not what I believe. So you can take it any way you want it. I think we’re always trying to win, and whether you want to criticize the moves we make, you can do that. But I like what we do, and I like how we do it, and we think our fans like what we do. They know we’re always trying to win, and that’s all we can do.

Where Sielski’s line of questioning falls a little short is he keeps going back to the well with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, using the trades as examples that may have “shortchanged” the team. The problem is while there are some who may not like those moves, they weren’t typical of the types of deals that frustrate the fanbase the most.

The Flyers got four quality NHL players in return for Richards and Carter, all of whom were younger. Agree or disagree with the decision, the process was and continues to be justifiable.

The real issue occurs when the Flyers acquire aging veterans the organization mistakenly believes will put the team over the top at the expense of its future.

Still, it was interesting to see to read the team owner’s response to questions over his front office’s approach to putting together a team on the ice. Somewhere, there is probably a happy medium between what the Flyers have done in the past and what many armchair experts believe the organization should be doing.

Who knows, maybe the Flyers have already found it.

On a positive note, the Flyers were doing quite well before the break. Since November 8, Philadelphia is tied with the Boston Bruins for the fifth-best record in the NHL at 26-13-5, behind only the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks. That’s pretty elite company, although the Flyers are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference, and it remains to be seen whether they can keep it up after the Olympic break ends.

>> Snider’s moves: ‘We’re always trying to win’ [Inq]

  1. philasopher - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    Good idea Mike but you had the wrong approach to interviewing Mr. Snyder. Let him off the hook when your argument (Richards, Carter trade) is the one thing the front office has gotten right. Why cut loose Briere and refuse Jagr to sign Lecavalier? I’ve always felt the Flyers do a good job of youth and elders as far as numbers are concerned. Problem has always been identifying the right young players to trade and which elder statesmen to bring in.

    Reply
    • Simmonds17 - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      Why cut loose Briere? Really? I loved the guy but his time was long past and that was a contract to get rid of. Also, there is no linkage to the Jagr and LeCavalier decisions. I’d like to have Jagr around too – but those are moves from different offseasons, so it’s kind of hard to link them.

      Honestly, a lot of the moves Holmgren has made in recent years seem to be working out pretty well at present – I wish people could admit that. Does he get any credit for a savvy pickup like Adam Hall? The return for Bobrovsky was considerable (Stolarz and Leier). Mark Streit was playing very well heading into the Olympics (although I won’t argue that four years was probably too long of a contract).

      There are things to criticize Ed Snider for – his “hatred” of the Olympics, the fact that this organization used to want nothing to do with European players – but overall I think he is the best team owner we’ve had in this town during my lifetime.

      Reply
      • philasopher - Feb 14, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        Point was Vinny isn’t an upgrade and if we had Jagr last 3 years we would of never looked at Vinny. The signing of Hall was a nice move but it means nothing when you trade Talbot for …… Steve Downie.

  2. Will - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Here’s the problem with carter/Richards that people always forget. They were traded specifically to fit in bryzgalovs insane salary. Both guys were signed a year earlier at roughly 10mil/yr total. At that time we were told how locking up the core of the team was essential to competing for a cup. A year later and not so much.

    They will never ever win a cup with Ed in charge. All moves are knee jerk reactions to try and fix prior mistakes. Much like amaro.

    They consistently mismanage the salary cap. They pay briere, with only 2 years remaining, to go away but then sign two +35 players past their prime to long term deals with NTC! And that’s just this year.

    Reply
    • MJS - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      They will never ever win a*nother* cup with Ed in charge.

      Reply
  3. ochospantalones - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    I’m agnostic on the whole Richards/Carter thing. Obviously L.A. isn’t too upset about it, but the Flyers managed to get younger, cheaper players and greater long term flexibility. Seems reasonable enough. The great sin was then wasting that hard won flexibility by giving a massive contract to Bryzgalov.

    Unfortunately, the Flyers have had plenty of other massive failings as well. One is giving up on young players like Bobrovsky, JVR and Patrick Sharp too soon. And the biggest is continually giving long term deals to old guys. The contracts for Lecavalier and Streit are like a parody of something the Flyers would do. And while obviously what happened to Chris Pronger was not predictable, that giving a contract that long to a player over 35 could backfire is not totally a shock.

    Reply
    • Will - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:17 PM

      That’s where you’re wrong though. There is no long term flexibility when you take the 10million and replace it with 9million and 9 years for a goalie that had a poor PO record. So you can never look at that as good because they then gave up on the goalie they said was the young future they always wanted. You see, they talk out of both Sides of their mouth. There is no plan, it’s just fly by the seat of your pants. That’s why they never win anything. But sadly, the stepfords keep Ed rich and the team forever mired in hoping to contend.

      Reply
      • Randy - Feb 14, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        You lost all creds when you used the word stepfords. That is a Mikey Miss term and that dude is a loser!!!!!!

      • ochospantalones - Feb 15, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        Uh, I’m not wrong. They got flexibility from the Richards/Carter trades. That they then made a horrendous move in signing Bryzgalov does not change that. As I said originally “The great sin was then wasting that hard won flexibility by giving a massive contract to Bryzgalov.”

        I don’t know how you managed to invent a disagreement out of this. Signing Bryzgalov and trading Bobrovsky were both stupid moves at the time they were made. Neither was necessitated by trading Richards and Carter.

  4. Buzz - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Where these reporters miss the boat in questioning Snyder is in the impatience the organization has with young players. Why do we not give players like Patrick Sharp, Justin Williams, Bobrovsky and JVR time to grow into their roles. The knee jerk reaction to trade a power forward like JVR and watch him excel somewhere else is mind boggling. Who did we get for Sharp? Is he one of the 50% of players on Team Canada that Ed said Giroux is better than? The reason we won the cup in the seventies was with home grown players and a touch of adding a veteran or an under performing star (Reggie Leach) from another team.
    Look at Chicago, they have the blueprint for success through the draft. Also, we do not need to saddle ourself with Shea Webber’s contract next year. We need to develop our own Webber (Sam Morin?) With Timonen and Meszaros’s contracts gone next year. We can rebuild our defense with young guys like Morin, Haag, and Gostibehere along with Gustaffson, and regrettably Luke Schenn. Take one step back to take two steps forward.

    Reply
    • phillyrulez04 - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      12/6/2005 – Flyers Trade Patrick Sharp & Eric Meloche to Chicago for Matt Ellison and a 3rd round pick in the 2006 draft. They later traded the pick to Montreal. Three picks after that pick, Steve Mason was selected by Columbus.

      Reply
  5. Dave - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    The Phillies & Flyers have the same philosophy as they try to put a bandaid on the teams shortcoming’s each off season instead having a long range plan. If they traded Carter/Richards to get younger along with keeping JVR & Bobrovsky then that would say to the fans that they were going young to build in the long run. But to sign Bryz was a move to win now and goes against the philosophy of trading Carter/Richards to get younger?

    Reply
    • Will - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      Exactly. Plus, you didn’t need any saber metrics to see bryz’s PO numbers. But my god, they’ve made that mistake how many times? Hackett, beezer, Burke…

      It’s really brutal to watch this inept attempt at successful management. Homer started off pretty good by moving forsberg, then building around the young core but since then, he is horrendous. But he is totally backed up by senile Ed.

      Reply
  6. philasopher - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    If you are willing to defend Ed Snider than you have to defend Jerry Jones. His defense for all his shitty moves “just trying to win”

    Reply
  7. will - Feb 14, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Randy – Feb 14, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    0 0
    You lost all creds when you used the word stepfords. That is a Mikey Miss term and that dude is a loser!!!!!!

    if the shoe fits dude.

    Reply
  8. sfsu - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    I fucking despise Mike Sielski. He treated the Flyers like a novelty act at the Bucks Courier Times; that’s he outed himself as ignorant to the NHL.

    Sielski’s argument its basically this: “The Flyers were violent in the 70s and they refuse to change that mentality, and that’s why they haven’t won StanleyCup, because players like Dan Carcillo and Steve Downie are counterproductive”

    Yeah, its either their 4th-line-forwards strategy, or its the fact they’ve had precisely 2 good goalies their entire existence. One of those goalies won 2 cups, and the other goalie was unlucky enough to have his career coincide with both the greatest team in the history of any sport (1980s Oilers) and also the worst strategy in the history of North American sports (neutral zone trap).

    But yeah, its Snider, Holmgren, and Carcillo to blame for the Cup drought. It has nothing to do with Eric Lindros being born 20 years too early for the rules, or the assistant goalie coach who pretended to be Michael Leighton in game 1 vs. Chicago.

    Reply
    • Will - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:34 PM

      Yikes, talk about making excuses. You may not like sielski but the facts are in. This team’s method is faulty.

      Reply
      • willh888 - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:43 AM

        so is the calender, but we add a leap year. You can literally sit there and complain about anything under the sun and call it faulty. Flyers only fault is not sucking the last 30 years and not grabbing that elusive first pick. Only year they were bad enough to get it they got screwed by a rigged lottery. That’s what’s faulty.

      • mike - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:38 PM

        The Detroit Red Wings have not had a pick in the top 10 since 1991. They have made the playoffs for 22 straight seasons. Since 1991, they have won 4 Stanley Cups and made the Finals 6 times. And 6 Presidents’ Trophies.

        Scouting and development are more important than high draft picks. The Flyers are lacking in all 3 of those components.

      • willh888 - Feb 16, 2014 at 12:14 PM

        If the flyers didn’t sign free agents, we’d say they aren’t committed to winning. I assume their strategy in the draft is to add good players, not add goof balls just to make things all wacky and fun. There’s a reason why there’s just one team like the red wings. There’s also teams like the Islanders who haven’t been good since Reagan

    • Chutley - Feb 14, 2014 at 10:55 PM

      …and Pelle

      Reply
      • Matt M - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:58 PM

        ;(

    • Atomic Fury - Feb 15, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      sfsu – You must live at the head of the line for the Flyers punch bowl.

      Reply
  9. Buzz - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Also, can we please put Kate Smith to bed.

    Reply
  10. Atomic Fury - Feb 15, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    I don’t know which bothers me more, the perception that Snider paid for such an interview to take place in a vain attempt to quash the notions mentioned in the article, or the fact that he believes they are going in the right direction. You can’t expect a stubborn old cuss (especially one used to having his own way) to change. We’re stuck with his foolish idea of how to build a winner until he either sells his part the team or buys the farm.

    Reply
    • Will - Feb 15, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      All it takes is a little criticism of the flyers and Ed’s minions scramble to bash the bashers. They are really pathetic. Jesus, the team continues to disappoint year after year and you dopes keep carrying Ed’s water for him. Stop buying the overpriced tix, jerseys, hats, pens, pins, earrings, etc and maybe things might change.

      Reply
      • willh888 - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        Scrambling to bash the bashers is called disagreeing. Seeing that recent teams were eliminated in the playoffs 3 years in a row by the Stanley Cup Champs, your definition of disappointment might be different than most. If they put together teams that miss the playoffs what, twice in 20 years, they’re probably doing something right amidst the questionable decisions.

        They could borrow the Pens model and just about go bankrupt, almost leave town and net 3 first picks so they can pull one cup out of their anus a few years later.

        They can be good once in forever and win a cup like Carolina. Where’s that winning formula down in Raleigh? Just two years ago an 8 seed won the Stanley Cup. Two years before that, 7 vs 8 in the Eastern Conference finals. Check out that 8 seed mentality, boy did they build a winner! It honestly comes down to good players (which a lot of teams have) surrounded by some good ol’ luck.

      • Will - Feb 15, 2014 at 6:38 PM

        Keep drinking the koolaid dude.

      • willh888 - Feb 16, 2014 at 12:07 PM

        Forget addressing the counterpoints, just regurgitate the term kool aid and hope it plays well. I wish I could tell you the Flyers won 25 stanley cups in 25 years.

  11. canam - Feb 15, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    It’s not a question about Snider’s desire to win. He is willing to spend money. Snider’s problem is his blind loyalty to Clarke, Holmgren. Hextall…etc…The Flyer’s have the good ole boys mentality and it prevents them from moving forward. I’m tired of seeing the former players everywhere. Jeez it been forty years…..Stop living in the past. the Flyers have been terrible at drafting and developing talent for over 10 years. They have not had a player drafted outside of the first round that has made a impact in years. They have never drafted an impact defenseman, goalie picks have been poor as well….Very poor scouting ,especially in U.S. and Europe. Change of philosophy is long overdue.

    Reply
    • mike - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      My work takes mes up and down I-81 fairly often. And I attend a good amount of AHL games along that stretch- Hershey, Wilkes-Barre Scranton, Binghamton. And then up to Albany and Glenn Falls every now and then. And the Phantoms stink compared to these a lot of these teams. It’s just a huge drop off in talent and skill level. They play in a pretty bad division and are still one of the worst teams in the conference.

      Reply
  12. nick - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    stop talking carter richards we did well on those trades unless richards 7 goals impress you this year ,kings won cause of quick !!!! and strong defence we do draft well sharp, umberger , jvr, justin williams , carter ,richards bobrosky , sbisa we could go on and on we draft well
    problem is you need to hold on to them and grow . and yes i do agree we take on to many ageing vets

    Reply
  13. bdog - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    The only way to build a winner in all pro sports is through the draft. The salary caps dictate this. Paul Holmgren’s poor salary cap management, bad trades, and poor drafts have led to the Flyers downfall. Check the facts Nick. They did not draft Umberger and Bobrovsky. Sharp was drafted 13 tears ago. You can’t give a team too much credit if a first round pick makes it. They are expected too, and most do. The best teams have picks in the later rounds that have made it. The Flyers for several years have not.

    Reply
  14. Steve Dore - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:03 AM

    Simple question for everybody:

    Would you rather have the Flyers as they are currently constructed or a Flyers team with Giroux, Richards, Carter, Bobrovsky, JVR, and Patrick Sharp? The current players you are losing are Simmonds, Voracek, Schenn, Schenn and Couturier. And I guess Mason is gone too.

    I’m not looking to prove a point. Just wondering what others think.

    Reply
  15. will - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    pretty easy question honestly. the 2010 team was a much more talented squad than this one. vorachek is a nice player but will never score like carter. shenn and simmonds are decent but richards was a much more complete player especially on the pk. Bob was the goalie of the future. i wouldnt count sharp in there since he was traded a while ago under a different GM.

    Reply

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