Monday, November 03, 2014

How have Flyers head coaches fared with a fresh start?

With the club's contest in Tampa on Thursday night, Craig Berube passed the 10-game mark in his first full season guiding the Philadelphia Flyers, and the results were neither good nor bad.

After a 4-2 loss to the Lightning, Chief's record as the first eighth of the season passed was 4-4-2. 

The following is a breakdown of all the head coaches for the Orange and Black, including how they fared in both the short and long term given a clean start from the beginning of their first season at the helm.

Keith Allen (1967-68)
First 10 games: 4-4-2
Final result:      31-32-11 West Division championship

Vic Stasiuk (1969-70)
First 10 games: 2-3-5
Final result:      17-35-24 5th Place, West Division (NHL record for most ties)

Fred Shero (1971-72)
First 10 games: 5-4-1
Final result:      26-38-14 5th Place, West Division (missed playoffs by one point)

Bob McCammon (1978-79)
First 10 games: 3-5-2
Final result:      Fired after going 22-17-11 by January 29

Pat Quinn (1979-80)
First 10 games: 8-1-1
Final result:      48-12-20 Patrick Division championship, Stanley Cup Finals berth (NHL record 35-game unbeaten streak)

Bob McCammon (1982-83)
First 10 games: 6-4-0
Final result:      49-23-8 Patrick Division championship, swept in three straight by Rangers

Mike Keenan (1984-85)
First 10 games: 6-2-2
Final result:      53-20-7 Patrick Division championship, new club record for wins, Stanley Cup Finals berth

Paul Holmgren (1988-89)
First 10 games: 6-4-0
Final result:      36-36-8 4th Place, Patrick Division, Wales Conference Finals berth

Bill Dineen (1992-93)
First 10 games: 3-5-2
Final result:      36-37-11, 5th Place, Patrick Division

Terry Simpson (1993-94)
First 10 games: 8-2-0
Final result:      35-39-10, 6th Place, Atlantic Division

Terry Murray (1995-96)
First 10 games: 7-1-2
Final result:      45-24-13, Atlantic Division championship, lost in second round to Panthers

Wayne Cashman (1997-98)
First 10 games: 6-3-1
Final result:      32-20-9, Reassigned as assistant coach on March 9, 1998

Roger Nielsen (1998-99)
First 10 games: 5-3-2
Final result:      37-26-19, 2nd Place, Atlantic Division, lost in first round to Maple Leafs

Craig Ramsay (2000-01)
First 10 games: 3-5-2
Final result:      12-12-4, Fired on December 9, 2000

Bill Barber (2001-02)
First 10 games: 4-3-3
Final result:      42-30-10, Atlantic Division championship, lost in first round to Senators

Ken Hitchcock (2002-03)
First 10 games: 7-1-2
Final result:      45-24-13, 2nd Place, Atlantic Division, lost in second round to Senators

John Stevens (2007-08)
First 10 games: 7-3-0
Final result        42-29-11, 4th Place, Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference Finals berth.

Peter Laviolette (2010-11)
First 10 games: 5-4-1
Final result:      47-23-12, Atlantic Division championship, swept in second round by Bruins

Fight Night Extraordinaire

On Sunday, November 3, 1985, the first-place Philadelphia Flyers (8-2-0) entertained the last-place Los Angeles Kings (3-9-0) at the Spectrum in the first of three meetings between the clubs.

A couple storylines crossed on this nightcap: for one, it was former Flyers head coach Pat Quinn's second trip back to the city after being named to the top job in L.A. His first time back saw the Kings rally from a 4-0 second-period deficit into a 4-4 tie the previous February, to which Quinn told the local media he "couldn't deny he wanted this one very much."

In addition, this contest, broadcast on PRISM, was the final one where Mike "Doc" Emrick subbed for Gene Hart -- who was in the final stages of recovery from heart bypass surgery undertaken before the start of the regular season. At this time, Emrick was late in his first tenure as New Jersey Devils broadcaster, and filled in from the start of the year on Channel 57 and cable.

Finally, what all the sellout crowd of 17, 211 came to see -- battles between Flyers enforcer Dave Brown and Kings defenseman/puncher Jay Wells.

The game was contentious -- featuring seven separate fights and a total of 191 penalty minutes -- from the start, with Los Angeles starter Bob Janecyk wielding his stick like a scythe near Peter Zezel's head 53 seconds in and Dean Kennedy drawing a game misconduct for defending his goalie. Brown and Wells got into it for the first of three times with the game still scoreless near the six-minute mark:

It didn't take much longer for the two sides to come together once more. Just over a minute since Ilkka Sinisalo produced the game's first goal and only seven seconds before Tim Kerr gave the hosts a 2-0 advantage, a scrum broke out where Wells and Brown couldn't resist dropping the gloves again:

All of that was a mere appetizer for the third bout, which resulted in both players being automatically ejected. At this point in the game, just shy of the midway point in regulation, the Flyers fought back from a 3-2 deficit and were leading by a 5-3 count, as Brad McCrimmon's tally on the power play 18 seconds earlier provided the two-goal cushion.

Brown and Wells made sure to get their money and time's worth in the last altercation, with a flurry of punches in about as intense a burst as you're going to see either past or present:

Philadelphia went on to win, 7-4, for its seventh consecutive victory. Little did we know that Pelle Lindbergh, the Flyers' starter who made 18 saves on this night, had less than a week to live.

Who is Carlo Colaiacovo?

It was an interesting piece of timing, when the Flyers sent out a release after Thursday's loss to the Bolts informing that the club signed free-agent defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo. The 31-year-old native of Toronto will eventually suit up for his fourth NHL franchise whenever he hits the ice in Orange and Black.

Often injured, Colaiacovo will spend whatever time he has left in the league as little more than a third-pair/spare part. Signed by the Blues for a second stint with the franchise late last November, he only appeared in 25 games for St. Louis while recording a goal, three assists and a minus-4 in just over 15 minutes per contest. The season before, he was limited to just six games for the Detroit Red Wings.

Between 2009-12, Colaiacovo was a solid second-pairing defenseman, logging between 17 and 19 minutes a night, and gaining the confidence of Ken Hitchcock three years back in playing a career-high 19 minutes per game over 64 contests. It is interesting to note that, in each of those years, as his average TOI increased, his point production dropped: from 32 to 26 to 19.

Nonetheless, at 6-foot-1 and just north of 200 pounds, both Hextall and Craig Berube might be hoping Colaiacovo can bring something like this to the table:

The Italian-Canadian blueliner has been unable to shake off the injury bug due to his willingness to engage the opposition in all three zones, in open ice as well as in the corners. I remind you of an unfortunate incident between Colaiacovo and Jim Dowd from a Flyers-Leafs game almost seven years ago:

For Flyers fans with a longer lifespan and memory, Colaiacovo's signing and role on the club is reminiscent of the stopgap measures that players like Gordie Roberts, Willie Huber, Moe Mantha, Rob Ramage, Michel Petit, Jaroslav Modry, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Danny Syvret and Kent Huskins provided.

Earlier in the day, Bill Meltzer reported that Colaiacovo is likely to see his first action with Philly tomorrow night when the Oilers come to town. In that scenario, Brandon Manning will earn the seat in the press box. As he was left off the Blues' postseason roster, it will be the first action for Colaiacovo since an April 13 Blues-Red Wings season-ending matchup.
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