Stevens canned, replaced by Laviolette

The Flyers have named Peter Laviolette as their new head coach. ( Clem Murray / Staff Photographer )

  John Stevens juggled his lines at the Flyers’ practice in Voorhees Friday in an apparent attempt to save his job.
   It didn’t work.
    The new lines will be at the Wachovia Center Saturday against Washington, but Stevens will not be behind the bench.
    The gentlemanly Stevens was fired Friday and his replacement, Peter Laviolette will be introduced at an 8 p.m. news conference.  Laviolette led Carolina to the Stanley Cup in 2006.   
    The Flyers, picked by The Hockey News to win the Stanley Cup before the season, are 13-11-1 and have lost six of their last seven.

    In three-plus seasons under Stevens, the Flyers were 120-109-34; they reached the Easterrn Conference finals two years ago.

     Prior to directing the Flyers, Stevens coached the AHL Phantoms for six seasons, leading them to the Calder Cup title in 2005.


Did the Flyers need to make a change at head coach?

     Stevens played 15 seasons of pro hockey as a defenseman, including 53 NHL games with the Flyers and Hartford.

     After Friday's practice, Stevens was taking a positive approach to a tailspin that had seen his club fall to 10th in the Eastern Conference and fail to score a goal in their last eight periods.
    “It’s not about moping around here; it’s about getting back to work,” Stevens said after practice. “Let’s embrace the challenge and the situation we’re in and go out and fix it.”
      A few hours later, he was canned.
      At Friday’s practice, veteran forward Danny Briere was among the many players who said it’s them, not Stevens, who are responsible for the team's skid.
      “He’s bringing new ideas. I know he’s trying to find the right line combinations,” said Briere, whose team will face Washington, minus the suspended Alex Ovechkin, at the Wachovia Center Saturday. “Everybody knows he’s taking a lot of heat right now and he’s not deflecting anything. I think as a leader, he’s doing a tremendous job.”
       In the past, the Flyers have led revolts against their coach.
      That’s didn’t happen with Stevens.
      The firing was “definitely not something” the team wanted, Briere said.