Friday, December 04, 2009

Flyers fire Stevens, hire Laviolette

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

The Philadelphia Flyers on Friday fired head coach John Stevens and brought in Peter Laviolette to take the reins.

The move came less than 24 hours after the club was shut out for the second
consecutive contest. Following Thursday's 3-0 defeat against Vancouver at
home, the Flyers have dropped six of their last seven games and are tied with
the New York Rangers for last place in the Atlantic Division with a 13-11-1

Laviolette, a Massachusetts native, last coached with the Carolina Hurricanes
from 2003-2008. He led the 'Canes to a Stanley Cup Finals victory over
Edmonton in 2006, the lone season he guided the team to a postseason
berth. Prior to that, he was bench boss for the New York Islanders for two
seasons (2001-03), taking the Isles to the playoffs both years.

Over parts of seven seasons behind the bench, Laviolette holds a 244-188-30
regular-season record with 25 ties in 487 games, along with a 20-17 playoff

The 44-year-old also won a Calder Cup in 1999 with the Providence Bruins of
the AHL and was head coach for Team USA in the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Stevens was named head coach on October 22, 2006, taking over for the fired
Ken Hitchcock. He presided over the transformation of a club which posted the
worst record in the NHL for the 2006-07 campaign into one which advanced to
the Eastern Conference finals in 2008.

However, although the club made the postseason last year, Philly fell in a
six-game opening-round defeat to eventual champion Pittsburgh.

Despite free-agent acquisitions of goaltender Ray Emery and defenseman Chris
Pronger, the Flyers have played inconsistently this season. Win streaks of
three games to start the season and five straight from October 31-November 12
were offset by losing five of seven from October 8-27 and the current slide.

The 43-year-old, who also coached the Philadelphia Phantoms to a 2005 Calder
Cup championship, finished his tenure behind the Flyers' bench with a
120-109-34 record, including an 11-12 record in the postseason.

In addition, Jack McIlhargey was relieved of his duties as an assistant,
replaced by Kevin McCarthy, who left his assistant coaching post in Carolina
to join Laviolette.

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