Flyers commit first coaching casualty of season; fire Laviolette
The Philadelphia Flyers have fired head coach Peter Laviolette after starting the season 0-3 for the second straight season and finishing last year’s shortened season with a 23-22-3 record.
The Franklin, Massachusetts native was a combined 145-98-29 in five season with the Broad Street Bullies, including a trip to the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, but never made it past the Conference Semi Finals in the past three season and missed the playoffs completely last year. Laviolette came to Philadelphia from the Carolina Hurricanes, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2006, defeating the Edmonton Oilers in 7 games. After barely making the playoffs in his first year, Laviolette’s Flyers became the third team in NHL history to come back form being down 3-0 in a series and win defeating the Boston Bruins. As a player, Laviolette went undrafted but had a successful American Hockey League career and played in for both the 1988 and 1994 US Olympic Men’s Hockey Team.
Former Flyers enforcer Craig Berube, who’s 7th all time in career penalty minutes, takes over as head coach and will be joined by former Adirondack Phantoms coach and Flyers Director of Player Personnel John Paddock and Director of Player Development Ian Lapierre will join Berube behind the bench. The Calahoo, Alberta native takes over after being an assistant with the Flyers for the past six seasons. Berube coached in the AHL with the Flyers affiliate Philadelphia (now Adirondack) Phantoms during the 07-08 season, guiding them to the Calder Cup Playoffs, losing in the Second round to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
For a team that prides itself on toughness, they sure have it behind the bench, as both Berube and Lapierre both were former Flyer enforcers, but can they bring a spark to a team that finished next to last in their division, moved to a much tougher Metropolitan Division, lack a real strong defense (something that has plagued the team for the past couple of years) and inconsistent goaltending from Steve Mason who was brought in at the Trade Deadline last season. It’s going to be another rough year in the City of Brotherly Love, just don’t go throwing snowballs at Claude Giroux Flyers fans.