The Philadelphia Flyers gave their fans an early Christmas present last night when they finally broke the .500 barrier for the first time this season. The attention of last night’s game is being focused on the clutch play of the players. Perhaps the attention should be shifted toward the bench. Give credit where it’s due.
Head coach Craig Berube has the Flyers playing their best hockey in years, literally. Last season, former head coach Peter Laviolette made the .500 mark his best friend. Berube may only have the Flyers one game over .500, but if the numbers are technically looked at, he’s 16-12-4 as a head coach.
Many people forgot that Laviolette started out this season as the head coach of Philadelphia. The current Eastern Conference standings have the Detroit Red Wing sitting in fifth seed and Toronto Maple Leafs sitting in the seventh seed. The Flyers find themselves sitting in the eighth spot in the East. However, if you look at the numbers since Berube took over, the Flyers have more wins than the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. If the season started on the fourth game, the Flyers would currently be sitting one spot higher in the standings at the seventh seed.
Many people remember Laviolette for being a fierce individual behind the bench. Anytime the Flyers were screwing up, his expletive comments made that clear to viewers. Nevertheless, like most coaching techniques, something needed to change. Berube brings a more strategic plan to the ice. With constant line changes happening on the offense, defense and power play, Berube has found the stellar chemistry that has been missing from this squad for quite some time.