Depending on the side of the fence you’re on, the Philadelphia Flyers firing head coach Peter Laviolette this morning can be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s not too great if you’re Laviolette, but it could work out for you if you’re the person who gets hired as his replacement.
Carolina Hurricanes fans, as they are so often inclined, are laughing slightly at the irony. Laviolette led the Hurricanes to a 2006 Stanley Cup victory, a feat he quickly followed up with never making the playoffs again and taking up permanent residence in the basement of the Southeast Division. Now he’s fired the night after Carolina pushes his team to 0-3. Hurricanes fans rarely forget and are always the first in line to jeer someone who did the team wrong.
All fan quirks aside, what can this actually mean to the Hurricanes? Like it or not, the Flyers occupy the same Metropolitan Division as the Hurricanes, and because of the NHL‘s scheduling practice, the two teams will be playing each other at much more crucial points in the season.
No team is an island in this new-look NHL, and there are a couple of ways one could massively speculate on how a Laviolette-free Philadelphia can affect the Hurricanes.
Best Case Scenario:
The Flyers never really regroup from the blow of losing their coach after going 0-3 to open the year. This takes them out of the running for the division, causing the Pittsburgh Penguins to act with impunity and dominate the Metropolitan. Should that happen and the Hurricanes make a turnaround on defense, keep healthy goalies, and go on a tear it puts them in a three way run with the Penguins and Washington Capitals. Both teams would bring out the best of a dialed-in Hurricanes team–perfect going into a playoff series with someone like the Detroit Red Wings. Bank on the dice falling just so in the Atlantic Division, and you’ll see Carolina finishing the regular season close to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Worst Case Scenario:
This turns out to be just what the doctor ordered for the Flyers, things click, and they start dropping bombs on the rest of the Metropolitan and the East as a whole. This causes stuff to get very real for Washington, who the Hurricanes play a handful of times prior to playing the Flyers. A surging Washington can cause havoc for the Hurricanes, putting them behind the proverbial eight ball when the rest of the Metropolitan shows up on the schedule. A Metropolitan Division dominated by Washington, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia — teams who love to go on streaks– could spell doom for a Carolina team with too many problems to solve.
Out Of Left Field, Yet Somehow Believable Scenario:
Laviolette shops his resume around for a little while. In this time, Kirk Muller has an implosion, causing Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford to fire him as well. In grand Rutherford fashion of driving using only his rear view mirrors, he re-hires Laviolette, mentions the 2006 Stanley Cup a total of 27 times in his press conference, and prays this boosts season ticket sales. Meanwhile, Laviolette proves why he got canned from both teams, steers the plane straight to the mountain, and the Hurricanes finish another season playing golf in May.
Of course this is all pure crystal ball speculation and nobody knows for sure. In reality, the effect on the Hurricanes will most likely be minimal. There are only three more games against the Flyers left on the schedule, and there are far bigger fish to fry than the Flyers’ coaching woes.
Time, as it is so apt at doing, will tell.