I hope you’re doing well.
Did you get my last letter? I understand if you haven’t had time to read it. After all, you’ve been a busy man.
I’m writing you again today to express another concern of mine.
In recent years, you’ve made Scottie Upshall cry, shocked R.J. Umberger, broke Simon Gagne’s heart, saw Nikolay Zherdev escape giddily after being waived, and sent Jeff Carter into seclusion. Including Joffrey Lupul, you’ve signed three players to significant deals and traded them before the no-trade clause kicked in. You also shipped out at least that many players who were committed to finish their careers here, two of which signed cap-friendly, career-long deals.
Even if there is no truth to this story, you are now the guy who reassured Carter that he would not be traded while you were working out a deal to ship him to Columbus.
I understand that hockey is a business but you are treating players like it’s the housing market before it collapsed.
For all that it matters, you might as well have punched Gagne’s newborn baby, Lily Rose, in the face. It’s possible that the way players now perceive you might not get much worse.
Despite all of the positive things that you do, this is the perception you are creating and the legacy you may be leaving.
Historically speaking, the Flyers are known as an organization that treats its players extremely well. Often, many former players refer to the Flyers as “family” and stick around Philadelphia to either work for the team or just to be nearby.
This welcoming environment was something that helped to lure big name free agents to Philadelphia and convinced marquee players to remain in the city. It’s essential to continue with this tradition.
People want to be treated with respect and the idea of being part of a “family” is an alluring one to players who are separated from their own significant others, children, and relatives for so long every year.
Players want to feel like like they can trust the coaches and management so that they can focus on what’s important: the game on the ice.
The reputation of the organization has been sullied over the last few years and it is important that you do damage control now to repair that image and rebuild a culture of trust and respect. Be proactive about resolving this issue before it becomes a problem when the contracts expire on players like Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk.
This is not something you want to come back to haunt you, especially because we saw the emotion in your eyes and in your voice when you were asked about your feelings towards the two players who we presumed were going to be the faces of the franchise for more years to come.
We know you didn’t act alone, but as the point person for all the praise and criticism, it is in your best interest to put out this fire before it spreads.