Since other have taken a more factual approach to the BSH Audition, I'll go a little more op/ed...
Yes, I said it. Peter Laviolette is not going to bring us to Broad street this summer or any summer while he is the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. Laviolette has some great quotes, some that would even rival Fred "the fog" Shero. If you didn't get your heart pumping after some of those quotes from Laviolette after watching 24/7 on HBO, your Pacemaker was malfunctioning. And no, I've never seen a coach chomp his gum harder, or get in a fight with a player from an opposing team during a game (Bobby Knight went after his own guys). That's the Peter Laviolette I love, and when this lockout game to a close, he was the first guy I wanted to hear from. There's no question he's a leader, no question he's a good orator, and no question he can get himself and his guys fired up to play. So what gives? Before you start scrolling to the bottom and crying blasphemy, here me out.
It's not Laviolette that I have a problem with, it's his system that is doomed. Wait, but Peter Laviolette won a Stanley Cup! Peter Laviolette won a Cup with a team that didn't make the playoffs the year before (so they had a long off-season prior), and it was their first year running that high-octane offense. Wait, but Peter Laviolette brought the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals, gasp, three years ago! Yes, he did, however he took over the team from John Stevens a third of the way through the season. He didn't put that team through the gauntlet of 82 games of an energy system.
If you look at the team under Laviolette, they start out strong and then flounder to the finish line, a la 2010-11 with an 0-4 series in the second round verse the Bruins, or a 1-4 series in the 2011-12 against the Devils. Anyone else remember how frustrating it was watching them play the same system every night verse the Devils last year? Couldn't be the trap, and didn't make any adjustments to try to beat it either. The team was just out of gas. They had no "jam" left. They were riddled with injury and just couldn't physically play Laviolette's fast-paced system. And yes, being tired leads to injuries. Eric Wellwood was one of the strongest players in the playoffs last year for the Flyers. That's, in part, due to the fact that he had some gas in the tank. He wasn't playing Lavy's system all year long. After winning the Cup with Carolina, the Hurricanes missed the playoffs two years in a row and then Laviolette was fired a third of the way into the third season. The system is just not sustainable for 82 games plus playoffs, potentially an additional 28 games.
For the NHL, it's all about getting a seat at the table, just ask the L.A. Kings. That's what makes the NHL the best playoff sport to watch. Whether you're a one or an eight seed, you just have to get in and then sit back and watch the free-for-all. Laviolette will get the Flyers to the playoffs, I don't doubt that. The system works on the ice, it doesn't work for 100 games on the body. So when the Flyers get a seat at the table, they have nothing left. It's great fun to watch the Flyers, great fun to watch them with the offensive pressure and the defense pinching in the zone. However, it's zero fun watching them not be able to compete in the playoffs not because they don't have enough talent, but because they are out of gas.
If this team has a chance to win a Cup with Laviolette at the helm, it's this year. 48 games plus playoffs may be the magic number to allow the system and the players to last. If only the Flyers still had Pronger, Carle, and Jagr, to up the talent level of the team. While I like the team, I don't know if it's enough to compete against the rest of the East. Sid and Malkin haven't rolled over, the Devils still have a trap, and in case we all forgot, the Rangers signed Rick Nash. Here's to hoping I'm wrong..