As much as a "terrible matchup" the playoffs were, the Flyers were utterly embarrassed twice. A number of fans were calling for his firing then, and I believe the 8 games at the start of this season were, in a sense, the trial period.
The good run with the road trip and heavy injuries was toward the beginning of last year when everyone was still adjusting to the new NHL. As soon as the midway point of the 05-06 season, everything went downhill: a second half of around .500, then an abysmal playoff performance, then the catastrophe that was this season, topped off with a healthy 9-1 stomping by the same Buffalo Sabres that killed us before, showing that the team did not make any signs improvement. Now that he's in Columbus, he helped the team to a brief winning mode, but they are now back to original form (better than the Flyers, but still a losing team).
I'm not saying that Stevens is any good; I think he blows just as hard, if not harder. I just think that the organization needed to move on, take a different direction and end its era with Hitch.
I thought it was more in the middle of the season that a lot of the injuries took place, but I could be wrong. Problem is, they obviously were playing hurt the entire 2nd half of the year cause 16 players had surgery after the year. So even though they came back, I dont think this team was anywhere near being healthy
Yes, they were embarrassed in two games but they won two and the whole series might have been different if they won that first game that Esche almost won on his own. Who knows.
Anyway, Hitch is gone, so be it. My feeling still though is that you never panic and shake up a whole organization that much at once, especially after 8 games but whatever.
I still dont think that saying Hitch cant coach in the new nhl is valid though. the man is very smart and I am sure he will adjust.
Regardless of Hitch, Stevens still blows and should not be coaching in the NHL.