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IT’S OFFICIAL! Flyers Hire Jones, Remove Interim Tag From Briere

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From left, Ed Olczyk, Keith Jones and Kenny Albert at dinner in Raleigh, N.C. on Wednesday.
From left, Ed Olczyk, Keith Jones and Kenny Albert at dinner in Raleigh, N.C. on Wednesday.

It’s official. The Philadelphia Flyers hired Keith Jones as president of hockey operations and removed the interim tag from GM Daniel Brière.

Shocked but not surprised was my reaction when the news broke that the Flyers reportedly hired Jones.

Shocked because the Flyers stayed with one of their own, a former player and current broadcaster. We thought they pledged to move forward with a fresh face and new outlook from someone outside the organization.

They didn’t.

Eddie Olczyk was the reported other finalist, clearly someone outside of the organization’s nepo-baby grasp. Olczyk reportedly aced the interview and was looked upon favorably by the Flyers.

Moving forward

The Flyers officially hired Jones and removed the interim tag from general manager Daniel Brière on Thursday morning.

“Today is one of the most humble and proudest days of my life,” Jones said in a statement released by the Flyers.

“To be able to lead this team back to the winning tradition that everyone knows it can, and should be, is a true honor and one that I do not take lightly.

“I consider the Philadelphia Flyers organization the gold standard of the NHL and professional sports. I’ve seen how this city and these fans can rally around their team and there is nothing that compares to that feeling.

“With this leadership group in place, I am beyond excited and fully confident that we are on the right path and the results will come.”

 Hiring Jones will bring scalding criticism from the Flyers’ disgruntled fan base. Hockey has changed, but the Flyers have not, fans complain, and they point to the team clinging to former players in the front office making important decisions.

The Flyers will head into one of their most important offseasons with two rookies in control — Jones and Brière. Their task is mighty, to rebuild a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in three years.

Job duties

The Flyers also announced the job duties of their new management team:

“The President of Hockey Operations will lead the strategic direction for all aspects of the hockey operations department while collaborating on business goals.

“The General Manager is responsible for all hockey decisions as it pertains to signings, trades and draft picks as well as overseeing scouting, player development, roster construction and more.

“Head coach John Tortorella will remain boss of the bench and like most head coaches in the NHL, he’ll provide input on various management topics.”

Jones is so well known in Philadelphia that he’s known by his nickname — “Jonesy”. We know Jones from his TV appearances and also from working on 94WIP’s morning show with Angelo Cataldi.

So, what Jonesy do we get — the analytical TV guy or the guy yukking it up on WIP?

Maybe we get both.

Jones has been around hockey forever. He’s been around the NHL since he began playing in 1992 with the Capitals. He played his final three seasons with the Flyers, from 1998-2001.

He spent 23 seasons as the Flyers’ TV analyst and on national broadcasts with NBC and now with Turner Sports. You don’t land those jobs — and remain in those jobs — unless you bring enormous talent to the airwaves.

Jones breaks down what he sees on the ice with clarity. He often sees what is not obvious to the television viewer. His analysis is smart and to the point.

He’s obviously a people person. He knows the league. The Flyers team he inherits lacks a superstar — in fact, lacks much star power at all. He has a good goalie in Carter Hart, a solid group of young forwards and an uncertain defensive corps.

And the Flyers have the seventh overall pick in June’s draft.

That’s a pretty full plate for anyone.

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