The Philadelphia Flyers started their season 1-7. Coach Peter Laviolette lasted only three games before getting canned.
The Flyers battled back to reach the playoffs, but their first-round loss still miffed chairman Ed Snider. Given his heavy investment in talent (and expensive buyouts), Snider believes his team should always contend for the Stanley Cup.
So general manager Paul Holmgren could lose control of the daily hockey operation to his assistant, Ron Hextall. Snider could shuffle Holmgren into more of a general oversight role, perhaps filling the vacant team president role.
“Of course Paul will be back,” Snider told Philadelphia reporters Friday. “Basically, he's the head of our hockey operations. The job he did I think was excellent. Not too many guys would have guts enough to fire a coach after three games.”
Holmgren doesn't sound eager to relinquish control. But Snider has a way of getting folks to volunteer for reassignment within the organization.
“It’s really Paul’s call. All I have to do is endorse it,” Snider said. “If I don’t agree with him, then we have a behind-closed-door discussion.”
Snider doesn't sound ready to blow up the core Flyers group, but he suggested the team needs some “several tweaks.”
Look for changes on defense, where Kimmo Timonen is pondering retirement and young defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg appear to be on the cusp.
Also, the Flyers need to figure out what to do with Vincent Lecavalier, who fell into a fourth-line role this season. Lecavalier did manage to score 20 goals, but he has four years left on a contract paying him $4.5 million per year.