Feb 14, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT
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.
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