During what was the worst Flyers season since my birth in April of 1986, John Stevens was appointed head coach of the Flyers after the firing of Ken Hitchcock - in October of that season. You could tell through watching the players the rest of that season and early into this season that Coach Stevens actions, words and dedication was and is helping to transform this young team.
We cannot overlook the impact that Homie had in the off-season. The signing of Danny Briere and bringing veteran defenders Timonen and Smith to the team also helped. These veteran defensemen are helping to teach the young defensemen of the club: Coyburn, Parent and Sbisa.
Although Smith left for the Sens, we still have a great core working with these young players, in Kimmo, Derian Hatcher (pending his status) and Desjardins, the new development coach (more on him later).
John Stevens was also very humble with the acceptance of this award, giving acknowledgement to his players, the coaching staff and upper management. This shows his leadership and demeanor off the bench, and also gives us a glimpse into how he acts on the bench.
Stevens is a winner, other than his recognition for "Coach of the Year" Coach Stevens is also a champion. He has won four Calder Cup Championships, three while in a uniform and one while wearing a suit behind the bench. Although these are not Stanley Cup Championships, Coach Stevens end-all goal would be to bring Stanley's Cup back to Philadelphia. At least, I sure as hell is hot hope so.
Back to Desjardins.
It only looks good for our Flyers for the next few years. Coach Stevens has prime youth and veteran players. The youth that the Flyers currently have will be educated by the veteran players and a well respected Flyers alumnus.
Desjardins signed on to help develop the young budding NHL ready prospects. Bringing leadership into the development of these players, as Desjardins was one of the Flyers captains of the past, and a true leader of the team during his tenure.
In summation, the supporting cast behind the Flyers will hopefully help the players to continue to grow on and off the ice. I look forward to seeing the development of a team that will become a household name again (at least in Philadelphia). With recent contract extensions in this off-season I expect the Flyers to continue to compete at a championship level.