The Columbus Blue Jackets make a quick trip to Philadelphia before parking in Columbus for two weeks.
After the devastating 9-6 loss to Calgary on Tuesday the Columbus Blue Jackets must quickly forget about giving up five straight goals and prepare to take on a Metro Division rival. The CBJ make a quick trip to Philadelphia for a matchup with the Flyers tonight before six straight home games.
Ahead of tonight’s divisional game, I sat down with our friend Ben Gabrych from BroadStreetBuzz.com. Ben covers the Flyers and I was excited to talk to him about the big changes the Flyers have made in the last few weeks.
Lansing Murphy (LM): Was firing former GM Ron Hextall the right move in your mind?
Columbus Blue Jackets
Ben Gabrych (BG): Firing Hextall was the correct move in my opinion. The Flyers were struggling at the time and needed some sort of move to be made. It was said during the post-firing press conference that Hextall was unwilling to part from his “plan” and if he truly wasn’t willing to make a move himself, he had to be the one go.
LM: Columbus AGM Bill Zito was on the short list for the Flyers GM search but Chuck Fletch was ultimately chosen. Do you think going with a retread was the right move or would a new GM like Zito been a better move in your eyes?
BG: It seemed like Team President Paul Holmgren and Comcast CEO Dave Scott wanted somebody with some experience as a General Manager in the NHL and I agree with that. With the way the roster looks on paper, they’re ready to win sooner rather than later and I think Fletcher can help them do so with his aggressive nature at the trade deadline.
LM: With a new GM hired, how much longer until the Flyers make a sizeable trade and who do you think it involves?
BG: This ties in with my last answer a bit and I think they’ll wait until the trade deadline’s closer to make some sort of move. Paul Holmgren stated that they’re “very focused” on the upcoming deadline so based on those comments, I’d think it’s likely they wait until then to do something drastic.
As for who it involves, they need a reliable goaltender to back up Brian Elliott more than anything. Michal Neuvirth is too injury prone and it’s time to move on and find somebody more durable. They could also look for a third center to play behind Sean Couturier and Nolan Patrick, and a second pair defenseman as well.
LM: Do you think the Flyers are better or worse than they were on October 18th when the Jackets and Flyers last met?
BG: I’ll be blunt, they’re worse. They are coming off a nice 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins and gained some confidence in earning the victory, but they haven’t looked the best on special teams and overall team defense this season and it’s only gotten worse since October.
LM: How do you see tonight’s game playing out?
BM: I think the Flyers earn their second straight win over the Blue Jackets with a 4-3 overtime victory. Travis Konecny has been red hot recently and I think he nets a goal for Philadelphia in this game.
Thanks again to our good Metro friend Ben for catching us up on all of the changes in Philadelphia and a look at to what moves the Jackets division rival could make! Be sure to check out his work over at BroadStreetBuzz.com before tonight’s game for some more in-depth coverage.