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.