Winless Flyers Fire Coach After 3 Games
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Despite a preseason vote of confidence from ownership, the Philadelphia Flyers fired coach Peter Laviolette Monday after an 0-3 start.
The Flyers made the announcement at a morning news conference, less than a day after Philadelphia dropped a 2-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Assistant Craig Berube, in his seventh season with the organization after also playing here, will take over as coach. He is the Flyers’ 18th coach in team history.
“Just because I’ve been in the organization a long time doesn’t mean I’m going to do the same thing other coaches did,” he said. “I’m not them. I have my own thoughts. I have my own way of how I want to coach.”
Laviolette dealt with rumors of his firing last season, a year in which the Flyers missed the playoffs after the lockout shortened the campaign. It was the only season in which he failed to make the postseason in Philadelphia. He was hired early in the 2009 season after John Stevens was fired, and led the Flyers on an improbable run to the 2010 Stanley Cup finals, where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
Laviolette won the Stanley Cup coaching the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and previously coached the New York Islanders.
He received a vote of confidence from Flyers chairman Ed Snider shortly before the season started.
“As far as Peter is concerned, last year was an anomaly,” he said. “He’s been a very good coach for us, he’s been a good coach in this league.”
Snider, who founded the Flyers, changed his message on Monday.
“I thought our training camp, quite frankly, was one of the worst training camps I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I’m not talking about wins or losses. There was nothing exciting. Nobody shined. Nobody looked good. I couldn’t point to one thing that I thought was a positive. Unfortunately, my worries were realized.”
Laviolette signed a two-year extension last season that was set to take him through 2014-15. He’s just the second coach in Flyers history to coach parts of five seasons.
He’s set to serve as an assistant coach under Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma for the United States in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, and has coaching experience with USA Hockey.
The Flyers added former forward Ian Laperriere and former Ottawa coach John Paddock assistant coaches, as well.
Laviolette led the Flyers to three straight playoff appearances before they stumbled last season. The Flyers went 23-22-3 and were 10th in the Eastern Conference with 49 points last year, and couldn’t recover from a slow start. There was no apparent improvement the first three games of this season. The Flyers lost their opener at home last week to Toronto, then lost games on consecutive days over the weekend to Montreal and Carolina. They were outscored 9-3.
“I would think guys are probably pretty frustrated,” Laviolette said Sunday night. “Offensively, if you’re not scoring, everything’s got to be perfect on the defensive side of things.”
In a bleak era in city sports, Laviolette’s firing means all four Philadelphia teams have changed coaches in the last year. Eagles coach Chip Kelly, hired in January, is now the dean of Philadelphia coaches.