• January 25, 2022

Laviolette’s Future with Flyers in Doubt

2013_flyers_bruins_teamBill Meltzer of HockeyBuzz hit the nail on the head this morning with regards to the Philadelphia Flyers’ poor play against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night:

“A desperate club doesn’t know how to stop the bleeding and get back on track when things don’t go their way. Instead, they compound the problem with bad penalties, lack of puck support and trying to do too much as individuals offensively.

A desperate hockey team is, well, one that is in a state of despair. The players stop believing in one another and many individuals have lost confidence even in their own abilities. Such a club often has tuned out its coach, and every strategic or personnel management button he pushes seems to be the wrong one.”

Although the team has not been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention yet, the magic number that everyone is working with as a rough cutoff margin is 55 points. Are the Flyers realistically going to win 15 of their final 20 games?

Better yet- if they aren’t, what’s the first step to turning the ship around for next season?

There has been a lot of discussion today that head coach Peter Laviolette could be on his way out very soon. The organization moved John Paddock from assistant general manager to assistant coach prior to the start of the season, suggesting that he would take over the team if Laviolette was removed from his position.

I don’t think it’s the right decision, though. Not at this point in time, at least.

Laviolette has won championships at both the AHL and NHL levels, including the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. He has led three different teams to the playoffs six times in ten seasons. He has also coached the 2nd highest number of NHL games among American coaches (708), behind the New York Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella (802).

He hasn’t been able to adapt his coaching style to the personnel he has this season or motivate his players into simply playing better hockey, but this season is too short to make final judgment on his coaching abilities.

Let’s be honest- the Flyers were one of a handful of teams with an unreasonably rough schedule to start the season, allowing for little to no practice time between games. Injuries to key players and regressions by younger players have compounded their issues, feeding into an atmosphere that is not conducive to success.

If you want to call that making excuses, go ahead. If you look at the big picture, though, removing Laviolette doesn’t strike me as the solution to make all of their problems go away.

The timing of an immediate firing wouldn’t help the team either. As mentioned, Paddock would probably take over in an interim role until the offseason. So what would be the point of that? They wouldn’t be learning a new coaching system to get themselves prepared for the following season.

Who do you replace him with? Neither Ron Wilson, Lindy Ruff, Paul Maurice, Terry Murray or any of the recently fired NHL head coaches instill any level of confidence in me. There are AHL coaches like Dallas Eakins in Toronto or former Flyer Luke Richardson of the Binghamton Senators who have performed well at that level, but they are still unproven.

There have been two mid-season coaching changes in recent years that have resulted in immediate returns- the replacement of Michel Therrien with Dan Bylsma for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008 and the replacement of Terry Murray with Darryl Sutter for the Los Angeles Kings in 2012.

In both cases, neither coach reinvented the wheel. Both were credited with loosening up the attitudes in their respective locker rooms, focusing less on the x’s and o’s and more on the collective atmosphere.

The Flyers could certainly use that type of change, but it’s almost too late in a shortened season to make a difference.

In the remaining twenty games of the season, the team will actually have a better shot at playoff success if they focus less on the number of games left and more on enjoying the game they are paid handsomely to play. Appreciation and joy often breeds success, especially if the team can once more buy into the plan that their coach is selling.

Whatever direction the organization decides to go in the offseason, they better have a blueprint than they did in the summer of 2012.

Josh Janet

Josh Janet was raised in Northern New Jersey, but by an odd set of circumstances, is a Philadelphia sports fan. While recently converted to the Phillies, Josh is a diehard Flyers fan and can be expected to stay on top of the latest NHL news.

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28 Comments

  • Despite the belief in Philly by many Fabs and Local Media,
    This 2013 Flyers Team is not very Talented. They also lack Focus and Discipline and are about what I methought and stated they would be,
    A .500 Team at best and even if they are to make the Playoffs this Season, they are not built for any deep runs or a serious threat to win a Stanly Cup anytime soon..

  • Holgrem and Snyder tossed their Captain, Mike Richards and he goes on win the Stanley Cup.
    Holmgren tosses Jagr, the leadership & experience hired to fill the Richard’s void and you get the roster today.
    Holmgren’s last two off seasons are the reason for the play on the Ice. Void of leadership, experience and talent. Laviolette doesn’t have the talent to compete in a fair fight.

  • They lack talent, traded their best players, carter, Richards, jvr, they lack a puck carrying defenseman, and their goalie lacks instinctive lateral movement, an average, above average net minder, not 51 million goal stopper

    Laviolette isn’t the problem, it’s this inbbred management that’s been going on forever, from Clarke to holmgren

    They need to bring in somebody from the outside to be gm

    And according to Bryzgalov if they lose tonight the season is over

  • They tossed Richards because he drank beer

  • Cripes here we go again with the trading of Richards and him somehow he being attributed with leading the Kings to the cup. Dude contributed to the championship, but he was in no way one of the leaders of that team. That team peaked at the right time and has the best goalie in the world. Let’s not oversell what happened there. It is not like they got nothing in return either. Simmonds has been a solid goal scorer and Schenn was the top prospect in the NHL at the time. He is still really young.

    They do have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the puck, but they are all young which makes it tough to be consistent. And Giroux is not ready for the C.

    The problem is on the defensive side in that they need to have at least 2 puck handling defensemen and they have none. They have big stiffs like Grossman and Schenn which is fine as long as you have someone like Carle to pair with them, but if you don’t then you are constantly chasing. And of course you are overplaying an average goalie.

    Lavs and Holmgren both need to go. Neither one of these guys has the patience or the know how to deal with a young team which is what they should be focusing on. Holmgren tries to hit a HR every year which didn’t work out this year. Lavs changes his lines way too much and he never allows people to get comfortable.

    I think that they need to move Briere and Talbot at the deadline and they will have some suitors and then do whatever it takes to get Bernier away from the Kings to be the goalie of the future. Then amnesty Bryz in the off season. You would still have a good core of forwards to work with and then they can look to rebuild the defense.

    And the season was over last week.

    • bugs -I think Briere’s contract might be un-moveable he gets 6.5 million for the next 2 years
      If you don’t already look at this website, it is interesting to see Flyers salaries —— capgeek.com/flyers/

      • Briere’s contract is actually pretty attractive for small market teams. His cap hit is $6.5 million, which will help those teams get to the salary cap floor, but the actual money owed is $3 million next year and $2 million the following year.

        IMHO, the best for all parties would be a trade to Phoenix. They are a well coached, well-built team in a market with no pressure, allowing Briere a chance to win the Cup. It’s a more hospitable environment than, say, Edmonton, for him to temporarily relocate. AND, Phoenix has a plethora of young, talented defensemen. If Holmgren can acquire a player like David Rundblad or Michael Stone and a first or second round pick, I say go for it.

        • Thanks for the extra info Josh. I like the sound of that.

          How can we get Bernier from the Kings?

          • Well, Sergei Bobrovsky was a more proven goaltender (or at least had played more games at the NHL level) and cost a 2nd round pick and (2) fourth round picks.

            Anders Lindback was traded from the Nashville Predators to the Tampa Bay Lightning for (2) 2nd round picks and a 3rd round pick.

            By interpolation- I’d say he’s “worth” at least the equivalent of Lindback, if not more. Maybe a 2nd round pick, 3rd round pick and cusp player (like Eric Wellwood).

  • I thought it was only next year. You are right. That is a lot of cash.

    Can’t believe that Grossman is making so much money or Luke Schenn.

    • Great post bugs the long one so spot on. I love these dopes that think Richards is good and won the cup for the kings. Richards stinks and carter is 20 times worse and we overpaid them with those idiotic contracts and we realized they stunk after that 1st year and someone we were able to move them and they’re ludicrous contracts. Ill take Simmons cotourier schen and voraceck over those 2 stiffs all day everyday.

      I hope the flyers amnesty brizz. We need d men bad. Overall I think the flyers have a very good young team but need some defensive talent to compete.

  • Poor Overall Roster Management by Holmgrem and Company and poor PLayer Development has finally caught up to the FLyers ORganization..
    I can’t recall a NHL over the last 20 years that does as poor of a job of developing their home grown Drafted Playerd to become NHL Ready Players as bad as the Flyers over the last 20 Years.. Who oversee’s the Drafting/Scouting and Player Development for the Flyers Organization ..

  • Coach will be gone after the season, no need to try to change it right now as there will be plenty of changes in the offseason, maybe even GM.

    In my opinion to say this team is not talented is not an accurate statement – at least the forwards. The defense needs an overhaul and goalie it depends on the day. My only issue with the forwards is they need to play a little more toughness.

    What I would like to see happen:
    1.Buyout or trade Bryzgalov, release Boucher and Leighton
    2. Buyout or trade Mezaros
    3. Trade Coburn
    4.Keep Grossman, Scheen, Timonen
    5. Trade Briere and Talbot (at the deadline to Mtl, like the guys but this will be the only time to get anything for them, plus doesn’t look like we are going to be seeing the playoffs this year – so no reasn to keep Briere.
    6. Add some forwards with youth and size.

    The draft is really strong this year especially the top 7-8 picks. Also if the Flyers pick anything after 6, I want them to take a goalie, Zach furcale….he is somewhere between fleury and brodeur prototype.

    • Lew, the DF, needed to be rebuilt last year. Schenn is the only solid change they made. The only 2 should be built around, are Schenn & Grossman. I love Timonen, but he should have been extended, The big Tuscan bird, is a waste of space, Gervais, Lilja, & Foster, should NEVER, see the ice again. Homer whiffed BIG-TIME, this off-season! I still can’t believe the Preds jatched that offer sheet! Weber, would have change the entire dynamic, of this team. Leader, fighter, hitter, scorer, great on ST’s! Man, I’m still pissed!

      • I am pissed we didn’t get weber too. He would have made this team look a lot different and play bigger

  • I like it Lew. Free up a lot of money that is being paid to average players. I love Briere and Talbot too, but that is not what this team needs right now.

  • Trade the Following Players
    Briere, Talbot, Hartnell, Metzaros and get Young Talent in Return

  • Mike Richards is a winner
    He has been to 2 Stanley Cups in 3 years. He plays the PP, PK, and both sides of the ice. The Flyers were lucky to have 2 of those players on the ice at the same time. ( Giroux & Richards ) Now they have only one. Simmonds, Schenn & Couturier are not equal to one Mike Richards. They are role players. Giroux and Richards are Elite players. They are in a different class and when a franchise gets one you don’t give them away.
    Don’t lump Jeff Carter in the same class as Mike Richards either — he is in the same class as Simmonds, Schenn, and Couturier ( line mates not franchise changers).

    • Lmfao Richards is a franchise player.

  • Richards 26 games played this year & 7 goals and 18 PTs and -3. Last year a whopping 18 goals in 74 games along with 44 points. Totally the cornerstone to the kings franchise.

    • you can not look on a stat sheet and find a winner – you have it or you don’t — Vorecek looks great on the stat sheet this year but he is not Jagr — Jagr is a winner — I know you won’t agree with me, so you go ahead and believe the Flyers won that trade

      • Not sue which trade you are talking about with jagr, he was free agent. Vorchek and couturier for carter jury is still out in my opinion.

        • Carter 28 years old $6.25million this year. 26 games played 2 assists, 17 goals.

          Voracek 23 years old $3.5 million this year. 28 games played 13 goals, 18 assists.

        • Yeah Lew, I guess by not connecting my thoughts in previous posts efficiently, this post looks confusingly foolish
          Flyers won the Vorecek/Carter deal
          but the Flyers lost the Richards/ Simmonds-Schenn deal
          overall when you look at the 2011 off season trades and Bryz signing ( the Flyers crossroads) — they chose the wrong path and the Franchise has to back track now and reorganize a different path

          • You also have to remember they got a 2nd round pick out of that trade. What did they do with it? Traded it for Nicklas Grossmann. They got a lot of mileage out of that trade.

  • I’m liking what bugsyhawk and lewdoggie are laying down.

    The only issue I have with the article is the lack of context for Lavy’s record. His history is to arrive and make a huge splash in the first two seasons he’s on the job. Then his coaching approach and his system wear down the players and the team ultimately tanks on him pretty badly. We’ve had such high player turnover these last couple years that things have kept moving well.

    But the heavy hand that gets a early positive results has come to roost. We don’t have a talentless team – we have a disorganized, frustrated, distracted, careless, tense team. And although Holmer’s work has been generally terrible since the Carter and Richards trades (how does Bruno Gervais still have a locker room in the NHL?!?), this mess of a hockey team is classic Lavy burnout.

    I can agree that there is no benefit to getting rid of the guy this season. I read a news tidbit on nhl.com that quoted Holmer as fully supporting Lavy. So my biggest concern is that he’s being serious. He has to go.

    And another thing – I’ll take an “unproven” coach over a retread coach ANY DAY of the week.

  • I don’t agree with that assessment.

    Lavi coached the Islanders for two seasons- 2 of the last 3 times they went to the playoffs.
    His record in the two seasons following the Cup win?
    40-34-8 (88 pts) (8th place team had 92 pts)
    43-33-6 (92 pts) (8th place team had 94 pts)

    They tuned him out by the fourth season, but its not as if the team “tanked” under his watch. They made it to the ECF in the year they fired Lavi, but have missed the playoffs for three years in a row since. I’d like to think that’s more of a failure by the GM to field a good team than saying Lavi was a bad coach under the Hurricanes.

    • Josh, missing the playoffs is missing the playoffs.

      One or two more wins against top teams could have gotten the Canes back in the final 8 in both those seasons. So parsing how “close” doesn’t really cut it. Ultimately, to reuse the immortal words of The Tuna: You are your record.

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