Philadelphia Flyers fire coach Peter Laviolette
Laviolette will reportedly be replaced by Craig Berube. A press conference is scheduled for Monday morning.
The Philadelphia Flyers have fired coach Peter Laviolette, the team announced Monday.
The news was first reported by Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News.
"Right from the first day of training camp, I was concerned with how our team looked," general manager Paul Holmgren said at a press conference Monday. "Things have to get better and they will.
"I think Peter did a good job and he's a good coach."
Laviolette has been with the team for the past four-plus seasons, steering Philadelphia to the playoffs in his first three years -- falling in the second round both times after reaching the Stanley Cup Final in his first season -- before failing to reach the postseason in 2012-13. The Flyers finished 23-22-3, six points out of a playoff spot.
This season hasn't been much better, with the Flyers off to an 0-3 start, having been outscored 9-3 in those three losses.
Still, since Laviolette took over in 2010 the Flyers have won 117 games, which is 10th best in the NHL.
"Peter Laviolette worked his ass off for the Flyers," Holmgren said.
Speculation is rampant that this is a last-ditch move by Holmgren, who figures to be next on the chopping block.
Things have been trending downward for the Flyers since their run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals under Laviolette, who was picked as the coach most likely to lose his job before this season started. Bovada gave Laviolette 2-1 odds of being fired. And it didn't take long for the bet to pay off.
Holmgren has made a handful of personnel blunders in the past few years leading with the the team signing goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51 million contract. That plan didn't pan out and Philadelphia ended up being forced to buy out Bryzgalov's contract.
Adding to the trouble was that the Flyers also dealt goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who won the Vezina Trophy last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
And now the coach is out, which leads to the natural conclusion that Holmgren could be next.
Craig Berube, who has been named the replacement, has seen his share of controversy dating back to his playing days. The outspoken assistant was suspended in 1997 for calling Panthers then-rookie Peter Worrell, who is black, "a monkey." Berube later apologized to Worrell.
Last season, Berube said had some outspoken comments about Penguins captain Sidney Crosby that fans should like. Here's what Berube had to say:
Let me tell you something, Crosby and Malkin are the two dirtiest players on their hockey team. They slash, they punch guys in the face. They do all these little things– I got no problem with what Schenn does. And if someone runs [Crosby] over– that’s great. They should run him over. This guy gets away with too much, in my opinion, whines to the refs all day and all night. It’s a joke. And the guy did something to Schenner a little bit earlier, so he just went at gave him a little shot. It wasn’t like it was a tough, bad cross-check. The guy dove. And I understand all that, they’re going to protect their guy, and they should."
Berube was a tough guy during his playing days racking up 3,149 penalty minutes, which is good enough to put him in the top 10 all time for penalty minutes for a career.
Berube also punched a referee during a fight on the ice during his career when he was trying to punch current Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff.
Berube has spent the past several years of his career in Philadelphia, as an assistant with the Flyers or head coach of the Phantoms, the team's AHL affiliate. Holmgren said Monday that Berube isn't taking over on an interim basis, though details of his contract were not disclosed.
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