BREAKING: Flyers Fire Head Coach Peter Laviollete; Craig Berube Replaces Lavy
The Philadelphia Flyers have fired head coach Peter Laviolette just three games into the 2013-14 season.
After losing 3-1, 4-1 and 2-1 to open the season, the Flyers pulled the trigger on a coaching change. The Flyers announced the firing at the Wells Fargo Center Monday morning.
“I met with Peter Laviolette earlier this morning and informed him that he was being relieved of his duties as head coach,” general manager Paul Holmgren said to open the press conference.
They have decided to go with assistant coach Craig Berube as Laviolette’s replacement. Berube will be the head coach, and not an interim tag, Holmgren said.
“I think from a timeline standpoint of my decision, I’m making this change on such an early point of the season,” Holmgren said. “I can go back a little bit to last year and my concerns on how the team played.
“I was looking back on a lock-out shortened year, we didn’t have a training camp. We had a lot of injuries. I thought it was important that Peter had another shot with training camp and some of the additions we made during the summer were good additions with Ray Emery, Vinny Lecavalier and Mark Streit.
“I think there was some excitement about our team going into training camp and right from day one I was concerned with how the team looked... 0-3 is 0-3 and we’ve got a long way to go in terms of the season but it was more on how we played and it was unacceptable.
“We don’t look like a team at all and it felt like a gut feeling idea to make this decision. I made the decision last night on a plane before we came down from Carolina and here we are today.”
“I’m excited about the opportunity to have Craig coach the Philadelphia Flyers. Craig is one of the smartest hockey guys I’ve ever been around. He’s learned the coaching position for the last nine years. He’s been a head coach with the Phantoms.
“He demands respect, he holds people accountable, he’s a no BS kind of guy and I’m looking forward to Craig taking over the team starting today.
“We have some work to do, Craig has some work to do and he understands that. Our team – I’m not going to let the players off the hook. We’ll be without a leader today. Things have to get better and they will.”
Berube, who played for the Flyers from 1986-1991, said he has always considered himself a Flyer.
"First of all I'd like to thank the Flyers organization, Mr. Snider, Peter Luukko and Paul Holmgren for giving me the opportunity to coach the Flyers," Berube said. "It's a great opportunity, it really is.
"I've always been a Flyer in my mind and I'm the head coach, so I would like to thank them."
Since joining the Flyers on December 4, 2009 when the Flyers canned John Stevens, Laviolette compiled a 145-98-29 record in 272 games.
During his first season in 2009-10, he helped revive a 14th place Flyers and lead them to the Stanley Cup Final where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
Laviolette became just the second Flyers coach in franchise history last Tuesday to coach in parts of five seasons (Hall of Famer Fred Shero was the first). Laviolette’s firing is also the fastest a head coach has been fired in NHL history.
Berube became the 11th head coach for the Flyers in the last 20 years, stated Howard Eskin in his question during the press conference.
"I've only been a part of a couple -- well maybe I was on the backend as a coach, but obviously the expactations are big for the Flyers," Holmgren said. "We expect to be in the playoffs, we expect to win. Sometimes that's just the way the business goes.
"I'd be remised to not thank Peter Laviolette for what he brought to the Philadelphioa organization over the last three-plus seasons. Peter did a good job, he's a good coach and I wish him all the best."
Here is the awesome exchange between Ed Snider and Howard Eskin. It got a little heated in their folks, and probably ultimately led to the presser lasting only 10 minutes.
Holmgren was asked by Eskin about the 11 different coaches in the last 20 years and he gave his answer (posted in the main story). Eskin pried and Snider jumped in:
Eskin: "That doesn't take us back to all those coaches, I mean, Ed [inaudible] patience or mistakes?"
Snider: "Why do you want to go back to all those coaches? There was a reason each time and the general manager at the time, and Paul now, made decisions they thought we needed coaching changes and we made them. Period, that's it."
Eskin: "You approved them."
Snider: "Of course I approved them. They work for their general manager and if the general manager feels he has to make a change... It's as simple as that, Howard."
Eskin: "So was it mistakes by the organization when they hired as many coaches?"
Snider: "Obviously it may be a mistake but it wasn't a mistake to hire Peter Laviolette. He did a very good job for us, but right now we've been struggling. We need a change. I'm a fan of Peter Laviolette. I think he did some good things for this organization. It's a tough day when you have to let somebody go. But Paul felt it was time to make a change and I would never say to Paul, 'You can't make a change.'"
UPDATE: Anthony SanFilippo corrected Eskin, who said the Flyers' 11 coaches were the most in the last 20 years.