Friday, August 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Firing Laviolette was the right move

It’s only noontime, but two hours fresh off the announcement of the firing of winless Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette, the court of public opinion is already lambasting GM Paul Holmgren and Chairman Ed Snider. Unlike my colleague at the Daily News who has called the firing “absurd,” I support the change.

Firing Laviolette was the right move

It’s only noontime, but two hours fresh off the announcement of the firing of winless Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette, the court of public opinion is already lambasting GM Paul Holmgren and Chairman Ed Snider. Unlike my colleague at the Daily News who has called the firing “absurd,” I support the change.

Yes. Even just three games into the Flyers’ season, this was the decision that had to be made.

Replacing homegrown coach John Stevens back in 2009, Laviolette was a risky decision all along, despite his single Stanley Cup victory back in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes – the team which ironically sealed Laviolette’s fate in yesterday’s Flyer’s 2-1 loss. Laviolette never quite adapted to the Flyers’ organization, and it showed by his getting into the playoffs that year just by the skin of his teeth, in a nailbiting shootout victory over the New York Rangers in the final game of the regular season.

During his nearly four-year tenure at the Flyers’ organization, the bulk of his stars were products of the Stevens era.

At least during Laviolette’s tenure, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, Mike Richards and Justin Williams won a Stanley Cup.

Problem is they won it for another team.

Anyone remember the “Flyers West?”

Yes, even just three games into the season, the Flyers had to make a change. The talent at hand no longer fit Laviolette’s system. It was either the players or the coach.

I’ll keep the players – for now.

At least by naming hometown favorite Craig Berube as the new coach, the Flyers are choosing a manager who – with 17 years experience with the club (6 of which were as Flyers assistant coach) – knows the organization and its culture well and will make an immediate impact.

Berube, who is the NHL’s seventh leading regular season leader in penalty minutes, will surely bring back the fire and passion so sorely missing in what has made the former Broad Street Bullies look like the Rittenhouse Square Rats.

Curious footnote: For the first time in Philadelphia sports history, this means all five major league teams in the area (yes, as a proud season ticket holder, I’m including the Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union), have changed coaches within the past calendar year. Hard to believe, but that makes Union coach John Hackworth the most senior of the bunch, having been made coach of the club on June 13, 2012.

Too bad we can’t fire some of our politicians after three days of lousy performances. But be careful what you wish for: We might end up firing the entire Congress.

John Featherman
About this blog
John Featherman is a contributor at Philly.com and writes about politics and consumer-related issues. Reach John at john@featherman.com.

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