The clock is ticking for John Stevens. The minute hand is nearing twelve o’clock. With the Flyers shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks they remain winless through the first six games of the season. Not good for a team with high expectations.
Heading into a weekend series against the New Jersey Devils a team the Flyers always have a tough time against I can’t see Paul Holmgren feeling too good about Stevens’ chances of getting a couple of wins out of his players. Last season the Flyers struggled through some terrible slumps that almost had them missing the playoffs. What might have saved Stevens last season is that the Flyers were young and coming off the worse season in franchise history. He was cut some slack. This year is a different story. Stevens should be behind the bench of one of the better teams in the East, Holmgren won’t be nearly as patient as he was last year.
The question is who would be the immediate replacement? We have to believe John Paddock currently with the Philadelphia Phantoms would be the front runner. He is a veteran NHL coach who as recently as last season was behind the bench for the Ottawa Senators. He would at least be an immediate replacement with an interim tag giving Flyers management time to get their ducks in a row and hunt for a permanent replacement.
Then there's option number two. John Tortorella. Currently unemployed and working for TSN (The Sports Network in Canada). Some may have heard Bobby Clarke’s comment during an intermission whereby he took it upon himself to mention that he believed the best coach to get a team of young players to play like a team was John Tortorella. The comment even took Tortorella by surprise. When the camera shifted to Tortorella he had a complete look of surprise and was unable to put a sentence together, as he was unsure whether Clarkie meant it or was taking part in the usual ribbing that goes on between the panel members.
Clarke currently the Senior Vice President in Philadelphia will always have a say in any of the hockey decisions, well because he is Bobby Clarke. I can’t imagine his input not being shared and listened to by Paul Holmgren and Ed Snider. Also the Flyers know Tortorella well having faced his Tampa Bay Lightning on a few occasions in the playoffs.
It will be interesting to see when the firing happens. This writer believes it’s coming as soon as later today. The question is, who will be the replacement?