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Bill Barber served as both an assistant and head coach of the Flyers.
Bill Barber reached the Hockey Hall of Fame and helped the Flyers win two Stanley Cups during his playing career. In 12 seasons with the Flyers, the Callander, Ontario, native scored 420 goals and 883 points including a 50-goal, 112-point season in 1975-76.
Barber became a coach after his playing career over and spent four seasons as the head coach of the Flyers' AHL affiliate. He led the Philadelphia Phantoms to the Calder Cup title in 1997-98.
Barber took over as head coach of the Flyers midway through the 2000-01 season and finished with a 31-13-10 record in 54 games. It was good enough to get the Flyers to 100 points on the season and to earn Barber the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach.
Unfortunately, the Flyers lost in the opening round of the playoffs to the Buffalo Sabres in six games. The clinching game was an embarrassing 8-0 loss in Buffalo that ended the Flyers' season.
The following year, the Flyers won the division with a 42-27-13 record, good for 97 points. The team again disappointed in the playoffs and lost in the first round. This time, the Ottawa Senators ousted Philadelphia in five games. Philadelphia was shut out three times in the series and was outscored 11-2.
Barber was a tough coach, and he lost the Flyers bench. When he was fired, his players were very critical of his style.
Captain Keith Primeau explained his issues with Barber. "We had the worst power play in the league, why are we not practicing it?" Primeau told The Associated Press (quoted by ESPN). "All season long we said if someone makes a mistake, they're getting yelled at."
Primeau was also critical of Barber's lack of adjustments during a game. "We say when we come to the bench, make that adjustment," Primeau told The Associated Press. "He wants the player to make the adjustment. Our job is to play. I felt like I was having to make the adjustments on the bench. I don't feel that's part of my job description."
Had Barber had more postseason success, management may have given him more time to learn on the job, but with two first-round playoff exits, he was history.
Overall, Barber had a 73-40-23 record behind the Flyers bench and won the Jack Adams Award. But it wasn't enough for him to keep his job.