Flyers Fire Stevens

The Flyers fired coach John Stevens today after last night's lackluster effort left the team with a 13-11-1 record, and 10th place in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers are announcing his replacement as we speak as former Carolina Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette.

The Flyers are playing horribly right now, but I am not sure this is the answer. The Flyers have no problem changing coaches every few years, but the results are always the same. The Flyers are good... always a playoff team, and never good enough to win it all. No matter who the coach has been lately, the results are always the same. Bringing in Peter Laviolette doesn't make me any more confident in getting the players to play on the ice. Obviously the Flyers have a lot of talent, and can do some damage in the playoffs. But we are still seeing a lot of the same issues as we have seen in years past. Defensive breakdowns where the goalie has no chance to save certain goals, the offense going on hiatus for games at a time, and a lack of leadership.

The season is a long season. The Flyers are struggling right now, but that doesn't mean that Stevens needed to be canned. I really didn't expect this to happen at all, at least not so soon. I understand the expectations are high, but I feel you needed to give Stevens a chance to turn this season around, and get out of this slump. I'm not even trying to say Stevens in a great coach, but it just seems like the same old story to me. The Flyers have struggled in years past at points during the season, but have gotten to the playoffs the last 2 years under Stevens, and the only team that has knocked the Flyers off both years is the Penguins... who are flat out better than the Flyers, no matter who the coach is.

Either way, I hope this is a motivating tool for the Orange and Black, but I just don't see it. Also, there is talk of Mike Richards getting the Captaincy taken away from him and given to Chris Pronger. Obviously Pronger is the man, and is a natural leader, but I'm not sure how that will affect Mike Richards to have the 'C' taken away, when he is going to be a focal point of the team for a long time. I feel like Richards should keep the 'C' but at the same time, allow Pronger to speak his mind and get in the players faces if need be, which Richards won't do. Just because you are the captain doesn't mean no one else is allowed to speak up, especially when you have a natural leader on the team in Pronger.


T-Bone said...

What? A balanced, reasonable analysis of a head coaching change in Philly? What the hell's the matter with you guys? How are you ever going to attract blogger buzz this way? Stevens as Satan -- now that would be REAL blog commentary... But, in this case I have to agree -- despite the Flyboys pathetic play lately, this move isn't a straightforward no-brainer. I frankly have no idea whether Stevens is, or will ever be, top head coach material in the NHL. He was successful with the Phantoms, and is reportely very good coaching/developing young players. That doesn't always translate to leading/motivating an NHL team comprised of newcomers and grizzled veterans. Laviolette brings a Stanley Cup earned with less-than-stellar players who demonstrated a strong work ethic, disciplined positional hockey, and ferocious forechecking. All very good, but the Panthers soon descended to almost the very same record as the Flyers, at which point Peter was also canned. I have nothing against Laviolette, but I too am not sure he's an upgrade from Stevens. What I am sure of, though, is that Holmgren (Snider?) is way too quick on the trigger finger with head coaches. How the hell can a team establish consistency when the boss is replaced every other year or so (or even less than that)? To the the extent that this team has the same freakin' problems season after season (as well documented in the original post), this has to become a reflection of the GM. Homer cerainly can't be criticized for standing pat: he makes significant moves every year. The results, however, are always the same: lengthy offensive doldrums, defensive breakdowns, questionable leadership. I give Homer credit for trying, but the results never match the effort. And the bottom line in sports is results. There always seems to be something lacking in this team and -- even worse-- it's always the same things. Richards is NOT captain material, as evidenced by his comment to the effect that they're doing well because "we came from being the worst team to a sort of contending team." "SORT OF" team?? That's the captain's idea of adequate progress? What kind of leadership is that? Patton would be spinning in his grave! At the same time, I personally don't see Pronger as The Man. He continues to get media hype and seems to have a big mouth, but what I see is a guy who gives up the puck in his own end too often, takes stupid slashing penalties right in front of the refs, and most often misses the net altogether with his "potent" shot from the point. This isn't to say he sucks, only that he's hardly lived up to the hype. I hope the Flyboys improve under Laviolette, but until they crash the net for quality shots & rebounds (as opposed to all the garbage shots from a mile away at impossible angles), they ain't going nowhere under any coach.

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