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In Game 7 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Flyers were down 3-0 to the Boston Bruins in the first period.
Peter Laviolette called his only timeout of the game. He called his players to the bench and told them to “get one” before the period ended.
They did, and they eventually won the game 4-3, proving Laviolette to be a genius in the hockey world.
Just over a year later, Laviolette’s coaching instincts have become questionable.
He has been unable to find line combinations that utilize all the talent on the team. He bumped a productive rookie (Couturier) to the fourth line to make room for an unproductive rookie (Schenn).
He put a non-passer (Voracek) on a line with one of the team’s best scorers (Briere), underusing Briere’s ability to get open and create scoring chances.
In the past few games, he has cycled his lines to try to accommodate Jagr’s lower playing time, Read’s ice-time responsibilities, Giroux’s flexibility as a forward and Meszaros’s lack of a productive partner.
The tools seem to be there, but Laviolette has not made them work effectively. He may need more time, but this team has a greater potential than their current performance would indicate.