Hextall still dealing with the shock of his firing

Ed Benkin
November 30, 2018 - 7:24 pm
Ron Hextall

Ed Benkin | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Some general managers can see it coming. Ron Hextall did not.

On Friday, the former Flyers G.M. spoke publicly for the first time about his firing.  Hextall was informed of his dismissal in a 20-second meeting with Team President Paul Holmgren.  Hextall admitted he did not expect to be fired when he went into work last Monday.

"I didn't see this coming in any way," said Hextall.  "I certainly didn't feel any warnings, so I was shocked and I was stunned.  The only thing Homer said is your vision and my vision weren't the same."

READ: Flyers fire GM Ron Hextall

Because of the difference in the vision going forward, Hextall was shown the door.  He leaves after over four years at the helm of the team he used to play for.  Hextall was happy with some of his accomplishments during the tenure such as the restocking of the farm system and the clearing of salary cap space.  Still, the Flyers were expected to take a step forward this season and currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

"I was pretty excited about this season," Hextall said.  "I certainly expected to take a step this year.  It's disappointing as hell that to this point, we haven't.  I look at our team on paper and think this is a pretty good team."

There was speculation about the future of Dave Hakstol.  Some thought the head coach would be fired instead of the general manager.  However, Hextall did not plan to fire Hakstol and insists he was not pressured to do so by upper management.

"You have to evaluate everything," said Hextall.  "Are we evaluating the coach?  Of course, but there was no time where that was posed to me."

READ: Flyers president explains firing of general manager

Meanwhile, the Flyers have been forced to move forward despite a tumultuous week.  They needed a turnaround in the second half of last season just to reach the playoffs.  They will need an even bigger turnaround this season.  Hakstol is trying to get his team back on track and is trying to keep his team's focus on the ice.

"It was a work day today," Hakstol said.  "Guys had good focus.  It was a normal work day.  Obviously, a lot has gone on over the past few days.  We all know and understand that, but it's down to business."

That business will continue on Saturday night when the Flyers take on Pittsburgh.  A new G.M. likely won't be in place by the time the Flyers take the ice to face their longtime rivals.  As for Hextall, he must now ponder the next step in his career.  His biggest regret was not ending the long Stanley Cup drought for the organization he once played for after being part of a Stanley Cup winner in the front office of the Los Angeles Kings.

"You do that once and it's worth the six years of pain," said Hextall.  "It is the greatest thing you will ever do in the game of hockey.  It is a special feeling.  I'm disappointed I couldn't bring a Stanley Cup to Philadelphia.  That was always my goal."