There are rumors of a major coaching change on the horizon in the National Hockey League, and based on the latest we may not have to wait very long to find out whether the rumors are accurate or not.
Earlier in the season the Philadelphia Flyers organization shocked many in the hockey world when they moved to fire general manager Ron Hextall, a player and personality who remains one of the organizations most recognizable figures, eventually replacing him with newly appointed Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher. At the time there had been rumblings of a potential termination on the horizon for head coach Dave Hakstol but it was Hextall instead who would bite the bullet.
That being said though the rumors regarding Hakstol's future behind the Flyers bench have continued to make the rounds and now one Flyers reporter believes that a blockbuster change could come as early as tonight. SB Nation's Steph Driver is reporting that a very good source has informed her, while using "strong terms" about a coaching change involving arguably the NHL's most well respected head coach, former Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville.
"The rumblings are Hakstol's job is on the line with this game tonight, but the writing is already on the wall," began Driver before adding. "The rumor that I've been hearing for a while, since before Hextall was fired, is that senior management wants the coach who is known by one single letter. This message has gotten stronger. It likely won't matter if they win tonight by the way, I believe the decision has already been made."
The coach who is known by one single letter of course refers to Quenneville's nickname "Coach Q" and that would match some reports following Quenneville's termination in Chicago that indicated he wanted to get back on the horse quickly. Add to that the fact that the Flyers have a brand new general manager who would no doubt like to install his own head coach and you've got a recipe for disaster if you're head coach Dave Hakstol.
Quenneville would be a major acquisition for the Flyers organization and it would mark a huge win for Fletcher in his first significant move as Flyers general manager. Only time will tell however if this one becomes a reality, and in short order, as Driver and her source are predicting.
Update: The Athletic's Charlie O'Connor now appears to be echoing Driver's latest report.
P.S. If you missed it earlier today, check out the Blackhawks mascot body slamming a fan who allegedly tried to get physical with him here.