Lightning Round: Philadelphia Flyers fire general manager Chuck Fletcher

Both the Syracuse Crunch and the Orlando Solar Bears suffered a loss on Friday night

Yesterday the Philadelphia Flyers released a statement announcing that Chuck Fletcher have been relieved from his duties as their general manager and president of hockey operations. Special assistant to the general manager, Daniel Brière, will step in as interim GM, while the Flyers will begin the process to fill the two open positions. It’s the first big mid-season front office change this year.

Fletcher was named the Flyers GM on December 3, 2018, replacing Ron Hextall in that role. During his stint in Philadelphia, the Flyers made the postseason only once, losing to the New York Islanders in the second round of the 2020 NHL Playoffs. The Flyers are on the verge of yet again missing the playoffs, currently sitting in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, 15 points behind the second wild card spots, with 17 games left in the regular season.

While during his time as the Flyers general manager, Chuck Fletcher has faced some bad luck, including injuries of several key players or Oskar Lindblom’s cancer diagnosis, Fletcher also made some questionable decisions, for example trading and re-signing of defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen or signing Erik Gustafsson in the 2020 offseason. At the latest trade deadline he wasn’t able move their biggest pending UFA James van Riemsdyk, which also played a certain role in Comcast Spectacor’s (the owners of the Philadephia Flyers) decision to fire Fletcher.

Reportedly, the Flyers will separate the roles of GM and president of hockey operations and Daniel Brière will be one of main candidates for both positions.

Lightning Round

The Lightning presented a new series, called the Lightning Lore. In the first episode Phil Esposito tells the story of how hockey came to Tampa.

Justin Bourne of the Sportsnet discusses if the Toronto Maple Leafs should engage the Lightning’s physical nature in a playoff series [Sportsnet]

The question I’m going to get into today is, if you’re the Toronto Maple Leafs, how much do you want to acknowledge the Lightning’s players who try to drag you into scrums with face-washes and jawing and other forms of emotional warfare, when there’s an actual hockey game to be won? I think it’s well-established that no team wants to be a Sedin getting rabbit punched by Brad Marchand, they don’t want to be Auston Matthews not acknowledging the choke-out attempt from Ben Chiarot, they can’t just “turn the other cheek” for seven games when both cheeks are getting punched in. But you also can’t get lost in the sauce when there’s actual hockey to be played.

The Syracuse Crunch earned a point in overtime loss to the Laval Rocket on Friday night.

The Orlando Solar Bears also lost to the Atlanta Gladiators yesterday.