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83-Steelers-43
10-22-2006, 08:37 AM
Flyers GM Clarke resigns; coach Hitch**** fired
Associated Press


PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers general manager Bob Clarke resigned and coach Ken Hitch**** was fired Sunday in a major shakeup with Philadelphia off to its worst start in more than 15 years, a person in the NHL with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Flyers have scheduled a 10 a.m. news conference at the Wachovia Center to announce the moves.

The Flyers are 1-6-1 and have the fewest points in the NHL, including an embarrassing 9-1 loss at Buffalo last week. Their five-game losing streak is the worst in five seasons.

Clarke never matched the success as a general manager as he did as a Hall of Fame player when he led the Flyers to Stanley Cup championships in the 1973-74 and 1974-75 seasons. Clarke was in his 13th season in his second stint as general manager, after handling the GM role in the 1980s.

Hitch**** signed a three-contact though the 2008-09 season in training camp and was in his fourth season with the Flyers. He led the Flyers to the conference finals in 2004, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who later won the Stanley Cup.

Before Hitch**** was hired, the Flyers used five different coaches in the previous six seasons.

In 10 NHL seasons with Dallas and Philadelphia, Hitch**** is 408-249-100. He is 66-51 in playoff games and won the Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999.

Philadelphia's 1-6-1 start is their worst since the 1989-90 season. The Flyers have scored only 15 goals in eight games, and five of them are from Simon Gagne. The played Friday's loss at Florida without captain Peter Forsberg, who has a sprained wrist.

They are a woeful 4-for-55 on power-play chances this season.

The Flyers play again Thursday at home against Atlanta.

Philadelphia was bounced in the first round of the playoffs by Buffalo last season, and has seemed ill-equipped to win a Stanley Cup in the new-look NHL. Many of the same problems they had last season have lingered into this season, including a plodding defense that has yet to score a goal.

The Flyers waived three players last week after the blowout loss to the Sabres, including Nolan Baumgartner, their lone free-agent signing to bolster the defense.

With a shaky defense and little offensive punch, the goaltenders have struggled, especially opening night starter Robert Esche. Esche has allowed 13 goals in two winless starts.

Clarke played for the Flyers from 1969-1984 and scored 358 goals and 1210 points, finishing his career as their career leader in assists (852), points (1210), and games played (1144). He was captain of the famed "Broad Street Bullies" teams in the 1970s.

Clarke immediately went from playing into management, holding the GM role from 1984-1990. He returned to the position in 1994, famously feuding with Eric Lindros in the late 1990s.

Hitch**** also led Dallas to two Stanley Cup finals appearances -- winning the title in 1999 and going back the next year -- and five straight division titles.


http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=2634817

PisnNapalm
10-22-2006, 09:37 AM
I've lived near Philly for over 10 years now. I gotta say that I was STUNNED when I turned on Comcast Sports and saw the news conference announcing this news.

I always thought that Clarke would die before he resigned or was fired. The fans here in Philly have been calling for Clarke's head on a platter for years. Everytime a fan complains about the Flyers it always starts with "They gotta get rid of Clarke."

cbalke
10-22-2006, 10:48 AM
to be honest with you, this is the best thing that could have happened to that franchise. i hate the flyers, so i haven't really been too sad to see them keep these guys around, but if they were at all serious about competing they should have gotten rid of clarke about 10 years ago.

i do give kudos to him for getting rid of lindros, though. that waste of space is easily the T.O. of hockey. what a douche.

Petesburgh66
10-22-2006, 12:23 PM
I saw this coming. When Ed Synder started to make noise that can be heard here in hockey central (Toronto), the writting was on the wall.

Considering I hate the Flyers, I am enjoying them at the bottom on the NHL. Their problems can't be fixed this year or even next year until they get rid some of the dead weight on the team. Clarke's stubborness to not get a real number one goalie was one of his down falls.