2010/05/19

Coach Laviolette Deserves Credit

The Flyers had fought their way back admirably from down 3 games to 0 to the Bruins to tie the series at 3, and force a decisive Game 7 in Boston. Unfortunately, Game 7 did not start out according to plan. The Flyers got down early 3-0 in the first period, and never fought back, and ended up losing the game. The Flyers still deserve a lot of credit for fighting back even to force a Game 7…..

This might have been the story line after Game 7 if one Peter Laviolette was not the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. Luckily for us, he is, and the storyline instead goes something like this…

The Flyers had fought their way back admirably from down 3 games to 0 to the Bruins to tie the series at 3, and force a decisive Game 7 in Boston. Unfortunately, Game 7 did not start out according to plan. The Flyers got down early 3-0 in the first period….. and then came one of the greatest called time outs in Philadelphia sports history. Teams only get 1 time out in hockey, so they are usually reserved for late in the 3rd period of games to give your guys a short rest before one final push. Laviolette used the Flyers 1 timeout in the first period after going down 3-0.

Since that timeout, the Flyers have outscored the Bruins, and now Canadiens, 13-0. Since that timeout, the Flyers have not allowed a goal. The defense has been great, and Michael Leighton has been even better. In that timeout, Laviolette told Michael Leighton to not allow another goal, and the Flyers would win that game. Leighton apparently received the message loud and clear, as he did not allow another goal in that Game 7, and has not let the Canadiens find the net as of yet through 2 games of the Eastern Conference Finals series.

Peter Laviolette also told the Flyers during that timeout to settle down, and get a goal before the period was over to make it 3-1. As we all know, James van Riemsdyk got that goal, the Flyers went into the locker room down 3-1, and the rest, as they say is history.

Peter Laviolette was hired by the Flyers on December 4th, as they sent John Stevens packing. The Flyers were slumping at the time, and a replacement was needed. It did take some time to get used to Laviolette’s aggressive forechecking system, but the players have bought into it, and the Flyers aggressive forechecking is one of the reasons they are having success so far in the playoffs. Laviolette won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes, so he brought instant credibility and respect from the players, who knew that Laviolette can get the job done as coach. He has gotten the job done here, and then some.

Laviolette, much like some of the players, seems to elevate his game once the playoffs start. Laviolette is focused on winning the Stanley Cup, and anything short of that will be a disappointment. After eliminating the Bruins capping off one of the most historic comebacks in sports history, Laviolette remained stoic, and said that the Flyers were not happy with advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals, and that the Flyers can still play better. After both the Game 1 and Game 2 wins over Montreal in the Eastern Conference Finals, Laviolette was not pleased. He said the Flyers need to play better if they want to advance. I like that out of the head coach. We can call this the anti-Andy Reid.

After losses to terrible teams like the Raiders, or blowout losses to good teams like the Cowboys to end the season, Andy Reid continues to say how good the team played, and how close they are, and that they are only a hair off, and how they will get it right for next game, since they don’t have far to go. This is complete bullshit, as is most everything that comes out of Andy Reid’s mouth. Even after historic wins, and 6-0 wins, Laviolette is not content. Winning is always good, but can often mask a lot of mistakes, and Laviolette knows this, and knows that the Flyers need to continue to correct some things if they want to continue to advance in these playoffs. Peter Laviolette should be the long-term coach of the Flyers, as he is right up there with Charlie Manuel right now, as the best coach in the city.

3 comments:

T-Bone said...

Laviolette as the Anti-Andy (Reid) -- brilliant and exactly on target! Laviolette is the real deal: knows the game inside & out, knows how to get the best out of not-quite-superstar players as well as the journeymen, respects his players and earns their respect, combines a no-nonsense attitude of expecting maximum performance from his players 60 minutes of every game with a willingness to publicly support his players and never throw anyone under the bus, etc., etc. You're also right: took some time for the entire team to get his approach and buy into it, but once they did... oh, baby! Laviolette may very well be the best Flyers' head coach since Freddie Shero.

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