The Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren had a closed-door meeting with the team after their 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night. The players say the message had been sent, and they heard it loud and clear. However, should a message sending tirade by the GM been necessary? More importantly, should the message have been sent earlier?
These are some of the questions on the minds of Flyers fans.
There is no doubt, at this point, sending a message to the team was necessary. However, if you fancy yourself a Stanley Cup contender, a visit from the GM to chew you out, shouldn’t be necessary. Winning a Stanley Cup, especially after coming so close the year before, should be all the motivation needed to play well. Not only to play well, but to play with passion and heart, something the Flyers have seemed to lack the past few months.
Whether or not they thought they could coast toward the playoffs, and everything would fall into place after taking over the top spot in the East, is unknown. Whether they thought they had to save their efforts for “games that matter,” is also up for debate. Regardless, if they thought either scenario’s were excuses for “mailing it in,” is simply inexcusable.
One would imagine that was the message sent by General Manager and former Flyer player and coach, Paul Holmgren.
The timing seemed to be right, however, could it have been done earlier? Perhaps a few weeks earlier, before the Flyers relinquished the top spot in the East?
Looking back it’s easy to say a message should have been sent earlier. However, Holmgren didn’t just address the players in this closed-door meeting, he addressed the coaches as well. This was a wakeup call for the entire organization. This wasn’t just about poor play, this was about accountability. Holmgren stood by patiently, like a good GM should. He allowed time for the coaches and the team as a whole to figure things out. Afterall, with their great play in the first half of the season, you could say they’d earned the opportunity to fix the problems themselves.
Holmgren’s tirade couldn’t have only focused on the Flyers lack of urgency or heart. There had to be a positive spin of sorts, because yelling criticisms aren’t going to get anyone, anywhere. Holmgren had to stress that the team is too talented to play the way they’ve played. A little screaming, a little challenging, then a little praising, that’s the way a motivational speech works.
Now, words spoken in a dressing room have never won a hockey team any games. Unless you count movies and pats on the back after big victories as credit. It’s up to the Flyers now, they have control over what happens next. They can take Paul Holmgren’s words to heart, and challenge themselves to be better.
Tonight, we’ll find out if Holmgren’s words had any effect on the team, as they head to Buffalo to take on the Sabres.