The Flyers have fired coach John Stevens, the Daily News has learned. Stevens will be replaced by Peter Laviolette, who led the Carolina Hurricanes to the 2006 Stanley Cup.
The official announcement took place at a news conference tonight at the Wachovia Center.
“I’m very excited to be here in Philadelphia,” Laviolette said at tonight’s news conference. “When you think about the organization, Philadelphia is at the top of the list.”
Comcast-Spectator chairman Ed Snider said: “I know this was a very difficult decision for Paul to make. And, I really feel bad for John because he's been a terrific long-time member of our organization. I was hoping that the team would play better and that this could have been avoided, but after last night's game, I think Paul felt he had to make this change. I make it a policy never to overrule my general manager, because once I do, it means I've lost confidence in him. I really want to wish John the best."
Laviolette also has coached the Islanders.
With a record of 13-11-1, the Flyers are tied for 10th place in the Eastern Conference - the farthest they have fallen in the standings since November 2008. They have lost six of their last seven and play Washington on Saturday at the Wachovia Center.
Once the league's most potent offense, scoring at a 3.6 goals-per-game clip, the Flyers have gone eight consecutive periods without a goal. Thursday night’s 3-0 loss to Vancouver marked the first time they have been shut out in back-to-back games since Minnesota built a brick wall in front of their net on Feb. 10-12, 2003.
After Thursday night’s game, team captain Mike Richards called a team meeting. He declined to reveal what was said.
Stevens was named the Flyers' head coach on Oct. 22, 2006, succeeding Ken Hitchock. Stevens was in his first season as a Flyers assistant at the time after a successful run with the Phantoms.
In Stevens' first full season, the Flyers reached the Eastern Conference finals before losing to Pittsburgh. Last season, they were bounced in the first round by the Pittsburgh. Still, they were picked by the Hockey News to win the Stanley Cup this season and have underachieved.