Ron Hextall on Lombardi, Simmonds, the Kings, more


There’s no denying Ron Hextall has almost always been associated with the Flyers. However, he’s greatest accomplishment in hockey came in Los Angeles when the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012. The former goaltender was an integral part of GM Dean Lombardi’s inner-circle and helped craft the roster that eventually claimed the most coveted trophy in sports.

Once considered the heir apparent to Lombardi, Hextall shocked much of the hockey world when he left Southern California last summer to return to the Flyers in essentially the same role he already had. He went from being the GM-in waiting with the Kings to the GM-in waiting with the Flyers.

With the Flyers back in town this week, I had a chance to catch up with Hextall on Friday afternoon and we discussed a myriad of different topics. Take a look…

On being back at in LA and watching his team practice at Toyota Sports Center, a place he called home for many years:

“Well, it’s neat to be back and see a lot of the guys and some new staff that’s over there. It’s familiar, so it’s been fun.”

On how a roster like the Kings isn’t able to store:

“I think probably everybody in the hockey world is. It’s one of those mysteries. I don’t know. Something that we looked at years back. It’s hard to figure out. You add a couple of players and you think things are going to turn around, but they’re going to turn it around at some point here, I’m sure. It’s just too talented a team not to score.”

On the coaching change in Philadelphia compared to the Kings firing Terry Murray:

“That’s a really hard question because in Philly, Bobby wasn’t there very long so it was kind of hard for me to even get a feel for what was going on there with Bobby and the players. I can’t really compare the two.”

On the Flyer’s current staff:

“I think whenever you’re looking for a coach, you’re looking for a character. You want honesty and you want work ethic and everything, but I think it’s just you’re looking for the guys that’s the right guy at the right time for the group of players that you have. I knew Craig Berube as a player and as a friend. I can’t say at the time I knew him real well as a coach, because again I’d just gotten back to Philly. Holmer [Paul Holmgren] felt really strongly about it, and to his credit, he’s done a good job.”

On the maturity of Wayne Simmonds:

“He was a good player here for us too. People always ask today if I thought he was going to be as good a player as he is, and I think the simple answer is yes. I think everybody knew that Wayne had a lot of potential with his speed and his desire to play the game- his strength and he has good hands. I’m not surprised. You’re just seeing a much more mature version.”

On the development of Brayden Schenn:

“He’s probably, I think, where I thought he’d be right now. He’s a good player for us,he’s played very well. He’s probably been more of our more consistent guys– we have had some issues with consistency- and I think Brayden’s been one of the more consistent guys. We all want to rush too far ahead, it takes time- you look at Kopi or Doughty and these guys- it takes time for a young player to figure out all the new aspects of the game and just to become comfortable at this level and just start producing. That’s a hard thing to do at a young age and I think Brayden right now is probably right on par with where everybody thought. Part of the reason we traded him was because we had to speed up the process of where that team was going and that’s why when you get Mike Richards at 26, and Schenner I think was 20 at the time. That’s a big difference.”

On if teams value goaltending any less than they did 20 years ago:

“I think part of the problem is, you get a contender and they need a goaltender, you have to give away two or three pieces- so you have your goalie, but you’re not a contender anymore because you’re not a good enough team. I’ve always felt like that’s why a goalie typically doesn’t fetch as much as a defensive or a forward. I think that’s gone on for years where people have undervalued a goaltender. You want to trade futures for a goalie if you think you have a top team. It’s always been that way with goaltenders.”

On any rumors that he left LA because of he and Lombardi no longer being on the same page:

“There’s nothing to that at all. I would not have gone anywhere other than Philadelphia. Why I went, I still don’t have an answer. It just felt like the right thing. I’m a gut type of person, I go with my cut. It just felt like at the time it was the right move.”

On what being back with the Flyers has been like:

“It’s been pretty much what I thought. I knew a lot of the people, so it wasn’t like there was any surprises there. I work closely with Holmer(?), I work closely with Barr Hanrahan. The office staff is all the same, so it’s probably been what i expected. My kids are on the easy coast as well, so that was certainly one of the factors.”

5 MUST-READ STORIES:

Hextall on MayorsManor rankings – talks Kings’ number one prospect, Tyler Toffoli

On-ice interview with Hextall right after winning the Stanley Cup

Ron Hextall on MayorsManor rankings – talks Kings’ top defensive prospects

EXCLUSIVE: Rob Blake will be named Asst GM in LA later this week

Lombardi responds to anybody critical of Rob Blake hiring

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