Phantoms coach Gilbert takes fall after 2-10-1 start

RALEIGH, N.C. - Less than 2 weeks ago, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren traveled to Glens Falls, N.Y., and told once-prized prospect Pat Maroon to pack his bags.

Last night, Holmgren did the same for Phantoms head coach Greg Gilbert.

Holmgren fired Gilbert, 48, after the Phantoms limped to a 2-10-1 start in Adirondack. The Phantoms, last in the AHL, have lost their last nine games.

"It was a hard thing to do," Holmgren said on a conference call. "We have a very young team in terms of years of pro hockey and we needed to do something to stop the bleeding. When you lose nine games in a row, you need to do something."

Gilbert, a veteran of 837 NHL games as a player, spent parts of three seasons last decade as the Calgary Flames' head coach.

He will be replaced by Flyers assistant general manager John Paddock on an interim basis, which will last at least a few months. Paddock, an AHL Hall of Famer, is the only coach to lead three different franchises to a Calder Cup.

Riley Cote will remain on staff as an assistant coach. Former Adirondack Red Wing Joe Patterson also will join the staff as an assistant.

Something has been brewing in Adirondack all season. Maroon - the team's leading scorer at the time with five goals in eight games - was dismissed for what Holmgren called "behavioral issues." According to an organizational source, Maroon's issues stemmed from a dispute with the coaching staff.

Also, forwards Stefan Legein and Jon Kalinski were warned when Maroon left that they needed to shape up their attitudes.

"I'm not sure the Patrick Maroon thing has anything to do with the Greg Gilbert thing," Holmgren said. "I think they're separate."

Maroon could be traded or loaned as soon as today while Holmgren attends the NHL's annual fall general managers meetings in Toronto.