Friday, December 4, 2009

Flyers shake things up: Stevens out, Laviolette in

The rumors that he would be fired that have seemingly surrounded Flyers coach John Stevens ever since he took the job finally caught up with him today. Stevens, who coached the Flyers for just over 3 seasons, was fired by the Flyers and replaced with former Hurricanes and Islanders coach Peter Laviolette.

Stevens got the axe mostly due to how listless the Flyers have looked recently as they dropped 6 of their last 7 games. While he has gotten the Flyers to play inspired hockey at times during his tenure, Stevens' inability to get the team to play consistently cost him his job. For a team with elite talent like the Flyers, the maddening lulls they seem to go through every season are mind-boggling. While it's difficult to completely blame Stevens for the bad play, it's much easier to fire the coach than to do a wholesale changing of the roster.

Laviolette takes over the Flyers coaching position with the task of righting the ship. As a former Stanley Cup winner with the Carolina Hurricanes, Laviolette will immediately command the respect of a team filled with players who have never hoisted the Cup. While Laviolette doesn't have the greatest track record (he only got the Hurricanes to the playoffs once in his 4 plus years there), he will at least provide a fresh voice to hopefully inspire to climb out of the tailspin they are in.

John Stevens was certainly an adequate NHL coach but he wasn't likely going to lead the Flyers to the Cup any time soon. His laid-back demeanor and limited knowledge of hockey strategy kept him from getting the most out of a talented Flyers team. It's now up to Laviolette to pick up the pieces and get this Flyers club back to the top of the league where they belong.


Kevin McGuire said...

I guess this was coming. It seems to me though that the players, coaches and GMs seem to change, but the ownership may be the real problem. What do you think?

allthingsphilly said...

While I agree with you that the ownership has been frustrating with all of their in-house hires and undying loyalty, the front office did put this team on the ice and they have enough talent to be a top team in the league. I don't think Stevens was getting the most out of the group. The ownership has always been willing to spend the money and field the best team possible so I'm not sure I can find too much fault with them.