John Stevens has signed a two year contract extension with the Philadelphia Flyers. In case you did not know Stevens was voted coach of the year by The Hockey News which helped him gain that extension.
Stevens is a good coach and especially since most of the guys on the Flyers currently played under him on the Phantoms. He knows them well and knows what to expect from them.
The players he has not coached are well-seasoned veterans who know what needs to be done in order to win this league. The team is perfect combination of young and old and Stevens knows what to expect from all of them.
Many have praised Stevens for turning the Flyers around from last place to the final four of the playoffs this year. I, however, am still skeptical of him. I believe with the amount of talent he received in the offseason last year he would have to try to screw it up. Stevens had basically three all-stars last year in Mike Richards, Kimmo Timonen, and goalie Martin Biron who was huge for Philadelphia. There was 11 Flyers with 30 points or more last year and that number is looked to be increase with Simon Gagne last year and Glen Metropolit. With the potential of 13 guys with at least 30 points there should be no reason that the Flyers finish lower than fourth in the conference.
Granted last year he did have to deal with injuries to Gagne, Richards, Lupul, Upshall, Umberger, and Jones at times. Additionally Briere struggled at times but there was too much talent on that team to not be able to compete with the best of the east.
However you cannot just blame losses or meltdowns to injuries, the best teams learn how to keep going and keep winning, the losers shift the blame and lose.
Hopefully this year Stevens will lead this team to the playoffs again but hopefully this time it leads to the division title and the Stanley Cup.