Nobody will argue that firing Peter Laviolette is a bad move for the Flyers. We can debate about how much it'll really help, but with a roster that's mostly locked in for the next 4 or 5 years, it's clear that problems can't be solved by getting rid of the entire team or even by getting rid of the general manager.
The Flyers have a lot of those problems, and through three games this season, they are the exact same problems we saw last season. The system doesn't seem to work, the personnel aren't really in place to make the system work, and the coach doesn't seem willing to adapt.
So why wasn't this move made last season or during the offseason instead?
"I thought it was important that Peter have another shot with our training camp," Paul Holmgren said. "I think there was some excitement about our team going into camp, and right from day one of camp, I was concerned with how our team looked. It was more about how we played, and it was unacceptable. We don't look like a team at all. I made the decision [Sunday] night on the plane back from Carolina and here we are today."
It's understandable that the Flyers would want to give Lavi another camp, especially given the weird lockout-shortened season we experienced last year. If the firing happened in the offseason, we'd all be talking about how it was too hasty based on only one weak 48-game season ... really, a weak 30 or so games, considering the Flyers did play better hockey down the back half of last season.
But it's a bit frustrating in hindsight. We all knew this was possible coming into the season, and Holmgren himself admitted that he was worried the second training camp began. The team was pressing all preseason long, clearly under a lot of pressure, and it carried over to the regular season. This camp could have instead been the chance for a new coach to put a system in place, and boy, were there are a lot of good coaches available this offseason.
Alain Vigneault, Lindy Ruff and Dallas Eakins are a handful of the guys the Flyers could have had. Then again, Paul Holmgren knew he had Berube in the organization, and he's widely regarded as an up-and-coming coach in the NHL. He was reportedly second in line for the Washington Capitals head coaching job a year ago -- it ultimately went to Adam Oates -- and his name was thrown around in coaching discussions all offseason as well.
For that reason, it's not shocking that he's been appointed the full-time head coach. No interim tag here.
"Craig is one of the smartest hockey guys I've ever been around," Homer said. "He's learned the game the last nine years, has been a head coach with the Phantoms. He demands respect. He's a no BS kind of guy."
How will Berube change the team?
Berube cited team defense and playing without the puck as the two biggest issues the team faces. Sounds right.— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) October 7, 2013
We talked last night after the loss to Carolina about how awful the team looks in their own end and in transition. All the other problems seem to stem from there -- if you can't even move the puck up ice effectively and consistently, you're not going to score goals no matter what kind of offensive talent you have up front.
Berube gets his
fist first crack behind the Flyers bench Tuesday night vs. Florida.