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Former Flyers Coach Advances to Stanley Cup Final

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Philadelphia Flyers
(Photo: AP)

For the Philadelphia Flyers, the 2024 Stanley Cup Final will be a Flyers reunion in all the wrong, painful ways. After defeating the Dallas Stars, 2-1, on Sunday night, the Edmonton Oilers have advanced to the Finals, meaning even more former Fly Guys will be jockeying for hockey’s ultimate prize. Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch is one of them.

For those who might not recall, Knoblauch, now 45 years old, was once an assistant coach for the Flyers, serving under former head coach Dave Hakstol in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

On July 29, 2019, Knoblauch was hired by the New York Rangers to run the show for the team’s AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. Coincidentally, in 2021, Knoblauch coached the Rangers for one game with then-head coach David Quinn on the shelf for COVID-19 protocol. The game, which took place on March 17, 2021, was against the Philadelphia Flyers. Knoblauch’s Rangers won 9-0.

The former Flyers assistant continued to serve as the Wolf Pack’s head coach until the Oilers came calling in November, as former head coach Jay Woodcroft left Edmonton flailing in the midst of a 3-9-1 start. Knoblauch, getting the nod for the first head coaching job in the NHL, had his hands full.

Fast-forward seven months later, and we can safely deduct that Knoblauch was equal to the task.

Indeed, current Flyers head coach John Tortorella did an excellent job managing the team this season and getting the most out of his young players, but it’s always amusing to see former Flyers players and staff succeed elsewhere after the team got gutted at the first inkling of adversity.

For example, Sergei Bobrovsky was rock solid in his first NHL season, and then the Flyers went and signed 31-year-old Ilya Bryzgalov. After a 23-year-old Bobrovsky struggled, he was shipped off to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Russian netminder immediately won the Vezina Trophy the following year.

Such is the history of the Flyers.

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