The Philadelphia Flyers made a coaching decision this week that is linked to recent roster moves. General manager Paul Holmgren fired head coach Peter Laviolette three games into the new season after starting a major roster revision last spring.
The promotion of assistant coach Craig Berube reaffirms the Flyers’ penchant for loyalty and also confirms that a different organizational focus has been forming for awhile.
Chris Pronger’s healthy presence on Laviolette’s 2009-2010 team helped to forge an unlikely path through New Jersey, Boston (likely to remain the most incredible comeback in franchise playoff history) and Montreal, on through to Chicago.
Laviolette took over for John Stevens 26 games into that season and deserved strong credit for a masterful playoff run. With a better defensive effort, or the presence of Bernie Parent, ‘Lavy’ could have met Lord Stanley for a second time. But, the 2006 championship that he won with the Carolina Hurricanes remains his only moment of eternal ice glory.
With strong systems development skills, this 48-year-old should be able to find another hockey home. Having interviewed the veteran coach on a number of occasions during the past few seasons, I personally wish him the best in his life and career moving forward.
The Gold Standard: Freddy
Fred Shero remains the Philadelphia Flyers’ greatest head coach.
Guiding a growing expansion team to back-to-back Stanley Cup victories in the mid-1970s proved to be an ever-deepening dream. ‘The Fog’ clearly stands as the orange-tinted gold standard among all bench men who ever peered over any ‘Bullie’.
Pat Quinn, Mike Keenan, Roger Neilson and Ken Hitchcock also deserve varying degrees of tangerine praise for their own past efforts. But, no subsequent Broad Street coach has ever come close to matching what the rightfully elected (July 2013) Hall of Famer did during his tenure.
Whether ‘The Chief’ can eventually find his place with the second line, or rise above them during a third parade, isn’t important right now. Instead, Berube simply needs to find enough regular season wins to secure a playoff berth next spring.
Sean O’Brien worked in the front office for the Philadelphia Phillies’ Triple-A team that formerly was located in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and later became a print sports writer. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his blog Insight.
Additional features from this author include:
The Mystery Behind These 1970s’ Topps Hockey Cards is Revealed
Philadelphia Flyers’ Peter Laviolette Set to Begin New Season (Interview)
Philadelphia Flyers: Ron Hextall Returns For Another Stanley Cup Run
Philadelphia Flyers: Hockey Hall of Famer Fred Shero Transcends Time
5 Stunning Old School Philadelphia Flyers’ Trades