Written By: Mark "The Hard Hitter" Ritter
Let me start this off by saying, I am in a bit of a rush to get this out there...more on that later. Here are some quick thoughts on the John Stevens firing.
So, John Stevens, fired, interesting! While I am not a proponent of quoting fan sites, there certainly was a ton of talk about wanting Stevens fired on many fan sites I visited over the past couple of weeks.
The reality is, Stevens' abilities were questioned last season when the Flyers went on a couple of extended losing streaks, leading me to believe that the Flyers faithful were just looking for an excuse to throw stones at Stevens in the first place.
Many feel that because the Pittsburgh Penguins changed their coach last season and won the Cup that somehow this is the formula for success.
Let's face it, changing your coach (as seen with Chicago as well) can pay significant dividends but, more times than not, only serves as a short-term fix, to what are likely bigger problems.
In this case, I think Stevens was changing lines too often, leading to a lack of chemistry and, from all accounts, there seemed to be a lack of a system in place, and that can hurt any team.
Are the Flyers sh--ing the bed? I would say no, only because this move has been rumored for well over a year now, so it's not a shock move.
Coaching had become a legitimate concern for the Flyers and, by all accounts, management felt there was a better man waiting in the wings.
Laviolette was fired from the Carolina Hurricanes last season, and while I am not sure he is the right fit for the Flyers, he does have a Stanley Cup on his resume. It's funny how one team's garbage becomes another team's gold inside of 12 months, isn't it?
Now, make no mistake about it, "Lavi" is a decent enough coach, but I am still unsure that he is the right fit for the Flyers. In fact, nothing about him says "Flyers" to me.
There was a lot of support for "Iron" Mike Keenan out there (A move I would not have endorsed). That said, I may have done a little more digging and tried to find a coach who was more of a task-master.
Another candidate who seemed to be getting a ton of support was Guy Carbonneau; now that would have been interesting, an ex-Hab behind the Flyers bench!
The Flyers should have fired Stevens in the off-season and brought in Pat Quinn. I know he has the rep of letting the players run the room, but I am not so sure that is the case anymore.
He has changed, and for that reason, I think Quinn would have been a better candidate.
It's the same old same old here. You can't trade all the players, so you bring in a new coach and hope it lights a fire under their butts. Time will tell how this all plays out.
A bigger question is looming for the Flyers, one that may cause significant controversy: Is Mike Richards still the right player to lead this Flyers team, or is this Chris Pronger's team now? An interesting debate indeed, one that I will weigh in on in more detail very soon.
I will have more on this in my column, which may not be until Sunday morning as I am doing the Christmas party circuit this weekend. To my readers, sorry, this will have to suffice for now.
Until next time,