Jeff Marek tells us what we already know

Jeff Marek tells us what we already know
Jeff Marek tells us what we already know

Don’t you feel good when you know you’re right about something? It feels good.

Yesterday on his eponymous show (available wherever you get your podcasts), Jeff Marek confirmed what we at Broad Street Hockey have been (literally) shouting for years: that the problem with this team isn’t Chuck Fletcher. It’s not Dave Scott or Comcast. These are the Broad Street Bullies.

Here is what Marek had to say:

…what are the most intriguing things to me, it’s not so much … what Chuck Fletcher did or what Chuck Fletcher didn’t do? I’m really interested in who has influence over these decisions that is not Chuck Flecher? Since there are a lot of very powerful former Philadelphia Flyer consultants on this team, whose opinion is always highly valued, and again, I don’t think Chuck Fletcher will ever say that anyone else had a hand on the wheel, except for him, he’s a very traditional managing director who will accept responsibility for all decisions and responsibility etc., you know he comes from a family of managers – and we think of the legendary Cliff Fletcher – so I don’t think he’ll ever say ‘oh I had to do this deal because Bill Barber, who’s one of the top consultants there, insisted we do it and he hand on the wheel or Bobby Clarke is behind it,” but that’s one of the things I wonder about. here. As I know, no general manager works with autonomy; what do we always hear about Matty? As a manager now in the NHL, you have to be able to manage up. You have to be able to manage the people above you, it’s a new skill that managers need to have, like it was once in the days of Sam Pollock, the era of Bill Torrey, whatever the back then, managers would basically see the people above them at Christmas and at the end of the season and that was it. And other than that, they had a budget, they had their money, and they had complete autonomy to make moves. Now it’s not just – as you always wish – we talked to Bill Guerin about this Elliotte and I a few weeks ago and put out a podcast, uh, we talked about his relationship with Craig Leopold, the owner of the Minnesota Wild, and there are a lot of managers and Bill is one of them, who always tell their owner that there are no surprises. I’ll keep you up-to-date. You won’t be surprised by everything I want to do and specifically – Doug Maclean always talked about it, when we worked with Doug, about how he would always keep Mr. McConnell up to date – not the day to day details of little things, like people who own hockey teams are very busy they don’t need to know if, you know, you’re trading 4th line wingers they don’t need stuff like that, but when you’re doing big moves or making big decisions, you better keep your landlord or those above you informed. Where you get into trouble is when you separate yourself from everyone else in the organization and start moving around in a vacuum, that’s usually the prelude for a team that has a new manager. But I’m wondering here with Chuck Fletcher, is he doing all these moves on his own? Are all these contracts – and I’m sure he’ll be the first to stand up and say no, I take responsibility, they’re mine – really his? You see, I don’t know the answer to that, all I know is that there are a lot of powerful consultants, who are former NHL players, many of whom have been general managers in the NHL, still around the organization of the Philadelphia Flyers. And to that end, I always say to people who bring it up, “oh get rid of Chuck Fletcher and all problems are solved.” I think that satisfies angry Philadelphia Flyers fans. I don’t think that’s the root of what might be at the heart of what’s going on in Philadelphia. Again, I don’t know the answer. But that’s one of the things I wonder about. And the whispers have been there. Was it really Chuck Fletcher’s decision? Is this really a Chuck Fletcher contract? Is this really a job of Chuck Fletcher? Now I know a lot of angry Flyers fans won’t like to hear that because they want it to be very simple and that Chuck Fletcher currently represents, in their minds, everything that’s wrong with the Philadelphia Flyers and if they get rid of Chuck Fletcher, all the problems will be solved. I think it’s too simple.

We’re being too simplistic saying if they get rid of Chuck Fletcher, do what the fans want – we saw the town hall last week and the boos and all that…Look, Chuck Fletcher knows he’s signing up when he takes a job so he doesn’t feel sorry for him, and Chuck Fletcher wouldn’t want you to feel sorry for him. I don’t know if it’s as simple as “you get rid of Chuck Fletcher and you solve all the problems”. I think it’s much more complicated than that. I think any team is much more complicated than that.

Matt, Jeff’s producer, then intervenes:

I agree with a lot of things. Here are two things I’m going to say: The Philadelphia Flyers are different from a lot of other organizations in that there are – you know, like you said – former players who were also general managers who were involved, maybe they were coaches, have a lot of influence in this organization, whereas I don’t see that much in other organizations. As you can correct me if I’m wrong, but the Philadelphia Flyers seem very unique in this regard. And the other thing is you talked about “is that a Chuck Fletcher signature?” Is this a job of Chuck Fletcher? the first thing that popped into my mind when you said that was why they didn’t sign Johnny Gaudreau, potentially, because he’s no quotes, Philadelphia Flyer. He’s not big, he’s not bad and he just doesn’t fit that role even though he’s one of the most talented offensive players in the league and god knows the Philadelphia Flyers can use something like that. That’s the first thing that, when you said that, screamed at me that maybe this was something Chuck Fletcher wanted to do but couldn’t.

Marek went on to comment on the idea that Gaudreau didn’t fit the Flyers’ schedule and that’s ultimately why they didn’t sign him, but we’ve heard it all before.

In fact, we’ve heard ALL THIS before. We’ve been shouting it for years. The Flyers are not cursed by Kate Smith. The Flyers are cursed by the Broad Street Bullies. And nothing will change, nothing will improve, until the organization cleans itself completely. Stop chasing after the past. Stop trying to relive old glories. And begins to focus on who will win the Stanley Cup in 2023.

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