Philadelphia Flyers: Alain Vigneault should be coaching for his job

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

It’s no secret that the Philadelphia Flyers are an absolute mess. From the product on the ice, all the way to the top of the organization, nothing seems to be going right this season. And I can’t help but feel that we are very close to this organization doing what it does best in times of trouble: fire the head coach.

Alain Vigneault, welcome to the hottest of seats.

It would be foolish to blame Vigneault solely for this team’s struggles, nor do I think that giving him the pink slip would be the magic elixir that would help turn this season around. But sometimes, a coach and a group of players just can’t get on the same page for whatever reason. Heck, there might not be ANY coach who could get results out of this Flyers roster as currently constituted, so AV may not be alone in that regard.

Sooner or later, though, you’ve got to try something different. Unfortunately, the Flyers can’t just dump their whole roster and start over, so circumstances might just force the front office to make Vigneault the sacrificial lamb here.

If they can’t snap their losing streak soon, the Philadelphia Flyers may have no choice but to fire head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers are 0-5-2 in their last seven games, dropping them all the way down to 7th in their division, already five points back of the last playoff spot and with several teams ahead of them for it. It’s not an “end of the world” scenario quite yet, as plenty of teams have lost seven games in a row but somehow lived to tell the tale. If you’ve watched the Flyers lately, though, you’d be correct in declaring that they look to have one foot in the grave already, even though there are still 61 games to play this season.

It’s not merely that the Flyers are losing games, but the manner in which they’ve done so. Looking disinterested for long stretches, the entire team seems lethargic and plodding with absolutely no scoring touch, especially on the power play, where good teams are able to make up for deficiencies elsewhere and punish their opponents’ mistakes. No, for the Flyers, it’s basically been “hope to get a lucky bounce and then pray that Carter Hart stands on his head.” Not exactly conducive to success.

This all brings me to a declaration of my own:  If the Flyers can’t manage a win during their next two home games, it should be time to say sayonara to Alain Vigneault. There’s only so much mounting pressure that a team can withstand before it hits the release valve. And if the Flyers come out in their next two contests (which are against tough competition in Tampa and Colorado) and look absolutely clueless once again, a move absolutely has to be made.

Following this rare back-to-back at home on Sunday and Monday, the Flyers embark on a three-game road trip. Making a coaching change before said trip would be preferable to doing it while the team is at home and facing increased scrutiny. Basically, the team could try to get up off the mat by playing a couple of games on the road while new systems are instituted. Maybe things get off to a promising start, and they can regain some confidence before playing back in front of their home crowd (if any fans even show up, that is).

I’m willing to give AV a couple more games to see if he can do anything about this skid, even though he sure sounded like a defeated coach with no answers after the Flyers 4-1 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday night. I also realize that people can call for his head all they want, but it’s up to Flyers management to decide if they want to eat the final two-plus years of his contract. They may not view it as making financial sense. It wouldn’t be the first time that “business decisions” got in the way of what was actually best for the hockey team.

We’d all like the Flyers to dig out of the hole that they find themselves in, and we shouldn’t be rooting for them to faceplant in their next two games against the Lightning and Avalanche so that the cacophony grows so loud that the team’s hand is forced. But if that is what indeed happens, then moving on from Alain Vigneault might be a necessity.

Next. The Flyers look clueless on and off the ice. dark

There don’t appear to be any quick fixes for this Philadelphia Flyers team, and you have to acknowledge that Alain Vigneault has been hamstrung by both roster construction and key injuries that have exposed the lack of organizational depth. But excuses only go so far. The Flyers are staring right down the barrel of having to make some hard decisions before they become totally irrelevant. It’s a painful situation to be in, just a few months after we all thought this season could be something special.