In what quickly became one of the biggest stories of this young NHL season, Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was given his walking papers by the front office just three games into the year. That all three were losses may have had a hand in that decision.
It was surprising to many that Laviolette made it through the offseason without being fired. Now, its being revealed that the team’s training camp was so ugly its amazing Laviolette survived that either. At least that’s how team chairman Ed Snider feels.
“I thought our training camp, quite frankly, was one of the worst training camps I had ever seen,” he told reporters, clearly leaving subtlety at the door.
The Flyers went 1-5-1 through the preseason, so its no shock Snider couldn’t find a shred of motivation in that. However, he went on to say there was more than just the team’s record that contributed to his opinion.
“Not talking about wins or losses. There was nothing exciting. Nobody shined. Nobody looked good. I couldn’t point to one thing as a positive and I was personally worried. Unfortunately, my worries were realized in the first three games.”
Once again, Laviolette has been treading on thin ice ever since Philadelphia’s woeful season last year. His leash was hardly a long one coming into the year. It certainly sounds like the rough preseason nudged him just close enough to the edge that only a few bad regular season performances would push him over.
The Flyers didn’t do a ton in the offseason to significantly change their fortunes. They won the Vincent Lecavalier sweepstakes, signing the forward after the Tampa Bay Lightning bought out his contract. The team also brought in defenseman Mark Streit via a trade with the New York Islanders. But other than these moves, plus bringing in goalie Ray Emery to share time in net with Steve Mason, the Flyers hardly made any earth-shattering changes to try and shake the team out of their funk.
Until yesterday. Now, with Laviolette out the door and untested Craig Berube taking over coaching duties for the time being, Snider has to somehow hope the Flyers’ fortunes will take a turn for the better.
Best of luck.