Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced Monday morning that Craig Berube has been named the 18th head coach in Flyers history, replacing Peter Laviolette, who was relieved of his duties.
Berube, 48 (12/17/65), had started his seventh season as a Flyers assistant coach and is in his 17th overall season with the club. Berube was most recently named a Flyers assistant coach on August 7, 2008, and also served as an assistant coach for most of the 2006-07 season.
Yahoo! Sports' Nick Cotsonika provides a statement from Paul Holmgren discussing the decision:
"We don't look like a team at all." -- Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, who said he made decision to fire Laviolette last night on the plane.— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) October 7, 2013
The Flyers followed:
"Craig [Berube] is one of the smartest hockey guys I've ever seen around" - Holmgren— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) October 7, 2013
John Clark of NBC10.com documented the press conference:
Craig Berube says he has always been a Flyer pic.twitter.com/dCkp261UZF— John Clark NBC10 (@johnclarknbc10) October 7, 2013
Craig Berube says team wasnt playing hard enough. "Sometimes the message doesnt get across." He says they will play hard now— John Clark NBC10 (@johnclarknbc10) October 7, 2013
Sam Carchidi of The Philadelphia Inquirer later reported:
Berube has a multi-year contract, Luukko said, adding the length has not been finalized. #Flyers— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) October 7, 2013
Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News was first to report the news.
Flyers have fired Peter Laviolette, per a source. Replacing him with Craig Berube. Press conference at 11am.— Frank Seravalli (@DNFlyers) October 7, 2013
The Flyers' 2013-14 season is just three games old, but Philly finds itself at the bottom of the standings by virtue of an 0-3 start, according to Dan Rosen of NHL.com.
Sarah Baicker of CSNPhilly.com confirmed Kevin McCarthy was also fired and provides the new outlook of the Flyers' coaching staff:
Holmgren says Laviolette was notified of his firing early this morning. Assistant coach Kevin McCarthy received same fate— Sarah Baicker (@sbaickerCSN) October 7, 2013
Paddock and Laperriere are your assistant coaches now.— Sarah Baicker (@sbaickerCSN) October 7, 2013
Philadelphia dropped a 2-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, and that ended up being the final nail in the coffin for Laviolette's stint with the Flyers.
Ironically enough, Laviolette led the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup triumph in 2006, so his old team was ultimately responsible for leaving him without a job.
Laviolette was never able to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup with the Flyers, but he came awfully close in 2009-10, which was his first season with the organization. Philadelphia reached the Stanley Cup Final that season; however, the Chicago Blackhawks prevailed in six games.
The Flyers have underachieved ever since then, as they lost in the second round of the playoffs in the two seasons after their Stanley Cup Final appearance, and they failed to reach the playoffs last season.
Despite the fact that Laviolette has had a great deal of success as a head coach at the NHL level, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun believes that the firing was overdue.
Laviolette is a very good coach but I was surprised he didn't get the axe after last season. Team wasn't responding anymore.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) October 7, 2013
It's clear that the Flyers are hoping that Berube will provide a spark behind the bench, as the roster certainly has plenty of talent. With offensive stars like Claude Giroux, Vincent Lecavalier, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and others, there is no excuse for the Flyers' recent struggles.
A coaching change from John Stevens to Laviolette in 2009-10 led the Flyers to a Stanley Cup Final berth, so perhaps lightning will strike twice.
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