March 08, 2019
By: Dan Fremuth
Let me just open by saying I'm completely and utterly biased on this subject. I like Scott Gordon, both as a person and a hockey coach. I was lucky enough to work with him for three years with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and through those experiences, I grew to consider him an excellent head coach and a personal friend.
With that context established, I can now get on my soapbox and say that the Philadelphia Flyers should lift the interim tag and make Gordon the official head coach of the Orange and Black moving forward. His body of work more than speaks for itself.
When Gordon first stepped behind the bench on December 18, the Flyers were an uninspiring 12-15-4 and fully entrenched on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Now, Philadelphia is 32-27-8 and is somehow (albeit unlikely) still in postseason contention in the East. Before Gordon, the Flyers were an under-performing group that was in serious consideration for the NHL's most disappointing this season. Gordon somehow took a season that appeared destined for boredom and disappointment and turned it into one where the passion and excitement has returned to Broad Street.
Detractors will point to his 4-8-2 mark through the first 14 games behind the bench, which included an 8-game win-less stretch (0-6-2), as cause for concern. One can't simply examine that stretch in a vacuum though. It wasn't long before that slide that the entire structure of the Flyers franchise was rocked with the dismissal of GM Ron Hextall on November 26 followed just weeks later by Dave Hakstol's firing.
Since that slide, the Flyers have been one of the NHL's hottest teams posting an inspiring 16-4-2 record across their past 22 games. Yes it's probably going to be too little too late as Philly currently sits seven standings points back of the Montreal Canadiens for the final Wild Card berth with just 15 games remaining, but that's not Gordon's fault. He's taken a season that appeared to be a lost cause in mid-December and turned it into one that should leave Flyers feeling awfully encouraged going into the 2019-20 campaign. A campaign that should still see Gordon at the helm of the Orange and Black.
We've all heard the reports that Philadelphia's management might be looking to make a big coaching splash this summer by trying to coax 3-time Stanley Cup-winning coach Joel Quenneville to town. I just don't see the point in that. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The Flyers players (both young and old) seem to be responding to Gordon and his familiarity with the organization's prospects as a result of his time in Lehigh Valley is invaluable.
As I said at the top, I'm biased. I fully admit that. But I also think the results speak for themselves. Scott Gordon has proven himself and if it's what he wants, he should be the next full-time coach of the Flyers.