UPDATE 8:01 PM EST: Comcast Sports Net confirms Peter Laviolette will take over as Head Coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. Kevin McCarthy is also replacing Jack McIlhargey as Assistant Coach.
It's been talked about for days, weeks, and even years around the Philadelphia hockey landscape. He's had his critics, who've said that he's not the right coach for this bunch, and he's had his supporters, who've said he's one of the brightest young hockey minds in the game. But after three seasons, none of that matters. Several sources have reported that John Stevens has been fired as Philadelphia Flyers head coach.
A press conference has been scheduled for 8 PM.
It's hardly surprising. The Flyers have clearly been under performing for some time now, and as we've said around these parts all week long, when a team with high expectations doesn't meet those expectations, the coach is always the fall guy. It doesn't matter if it's his fault or not, and that debate has also raged for some time now and probably will continue.
Stevens has been a lifer in the Philadelphia organization. Drafted in 1984 by the Flyers, his playing career was defined by a Calder Cup with the Phantoms in 1998. He'll be remembered in this town though for his coaching, winning another Calder Cup as Phantoms head coach in 2005 before being promoted after the lockout to the Flyers as an assistant coach. When Ken Hitchcock was fired in 2006, Stevens took over.
He's a smart hockey guy and a nice person, but in the end, he couldn't get this team over the hump. Now someone new will come in. Who will that be?
TSN is reporting that former Carolina Hurricanes bench boss is in line to take the job. Laviolette coached Team USA in the 2006 Olympics and coached the 'Canes to the Stanley Cup in the same season.
TSN has learned that the Carolina Hurricanes have granted the Flyers permission to speak to Peter Laviolette, who is believed to be Stevens' successor.
Laviolette will make his debut behind the Philadelphia bench on Saturday when the Flyers host the Washington Capitals.
This will be Laviolette's third stint as an NHL head coach, having previously been behind the bench of the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes.
Laviolette was a guest on NHL Live this past week and spoke about coaching again. Here's the audio of that interview.
Laviolette knows Paul Holmgren, as they've worked together with USA Hockey.