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The coach I supported for the Jack Adams Award laid an egg in the semi-finals for the second year in a row.
After losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins in 2011 it was easy to blame the lack of leadership and intensity displayed by Mike Richards, the injuries to key d-men like Chris Pronger, the embarrassing goalie carousel and any number of other things.
However, after losing four straight games in the second round for the second year in a row, Lavy deserves some of the blame.
In two consecutive seasons the Flyers were dominated by a more physical, more intense, better prepared opponent.
Watch those five games against the Devils again.
Except for the third period and overtime of Game 1 the Flyers basically played the exact same game five times in a row, expecting a different result despite previous evidence supporting the need for adjustments.
How many times can the Flyers dump the puck behind Jersey's net only to have Marty Brodeur make a better breakout pass than any Flyers d-man is capable of making before the coach has to come up with a way to neutralize Brodeur's puck-handling ability?
It's not like Marty snuck up on anybody; he's 40-years-old and has been the best fore-check destroying netminder in the league for most of his career. Yet the Flyers seemed completely incapable of countering NJ's third defenseman.
Every coach has his specific system and strategy, but when Lavy's team gets swept by the Bruins, goes 0-6 against the Rangers and loses to a less talented Devils team all within a calendar year, fans must begin to wonder if Laviolette's stubbornness and arrogance is bordering on the Andy Reid level.
The three aforementioned teams have all owned the Flyers and all play a very similar game centered around tough, physical play, hard work in the corners, denying easy scoring chances and cross-ice passes and forcing the opponents into turnovers.
Yet Peter Laviolette has been unable to devise a strategy to beat these teams in big games, and for the second straight year his team is left wondering "what just happened?" after a promising playoff run fell dramatically short of expectations.