NEW YORK – Ron Hextall was a model of calm seething.
The Philadelphia Flyers general manager watched his team drop a 2-0 decision at the New York Rangers, in an uninspired effort. There was no push, no momentum. The Flyers went quietly in a four-point game in the Metro Division, dropping to 7-8-2 on the season.
“Yeah, yeah, that bothered me a lot. I didn’t think … we didn’t come out hungry enough. We didn’t play well. We gotta be a lot better than that," said Hextall, his words measured.
This was a different Hextall than the one who entered the Flyers’ changing room after the game. While reporters huddled around goalie Steve Mason, who was by far the team’s best player on Wednesday night, Hextall could be heard bellowing at the players.
"ARE YOU F--KING KIDDING ME? THAT'S F--KING EMBARRASSING! JESUS F--KING CHRIST!" he said, before opening the door to the room, entering another room and slamming it shut emphatically. It was enough to make Mason whip his head around during his scrum.
It was the kind of fire Hextall used to exhibit during his playing days in Philly, as one of the most firey goalies in NHL history. Luckily, it appeared his players escaped without taking a trademark Hextall stick to the mouth.
Was this the first time Hextall had gone in to lecture his players after a loss this season?
“Went in where?” he responded serenely, about 10 minutes after his rant.
Into the changing room.
“Hollered at who?”
“I haven’t done it [this season]," he said, before being pressed. "I’m not gonna confirm or deny. I’ll just say I was very disappointed.”
And with that, the postgame conversation with the Flyers’ GM ended.
His evasion was understandable. No general manager wants it out there that he read the team the riot act in November, just like no prideful competitor like Hextall wants to confirm that his team laid an egg in Madison Square Garden against one of their chief rivals.
But they did, and Hextall had to.
“He’s probably not very happy with that performance. I don’t blame him,” said Coach Craig Berube.
Said forward Jakub Voracek: “The first two periods, we didn’t skate. Late on the puck everywhere, losing battles. You’re not going to win games like that."