“The Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” is perhaps the phrase that describes the Philadelphia Flyers team better than anything. They are a team we root for with a fervent passion in Philadelphia, but their organization choices can really show the bad and ugly to the business-side of the NHL.
This season, we saw the nasty side of the organization early on when they decided to fire then head coach Peter Laviolette only after three games. The firing was the quickest the league had seen since the 1970′s, and it left a bad taste in every fans’ mouth. Sure, the Flyers did terrible last season and had a poor preseason showing, but firing the coach with only three games in was a bit of a shock. If there really was a disconnect between Laviolette and the Flyers organization, the smarter move would have been to fire him before the season started to have a clean slate when the season commenced.
So when the team did not even bother to look for another coach and handed the position to assistant coach Craig Berube, there was a lot of skepticism. This was the Chief, the former Flyers tough guy that got so heated during a fight that he punched referee Kevin Collins in the face. When he came on as the head coach, the Flyers had a huge discipline problem and it was not a good sign. It turns out that despite his behavior as a player, Berube has been key to the Flyers’ recent success.
The Flyers struggled in that transitional period between the coaching change, and they were signs of a bad season during Claude Giroux‘s scoring drought, but despite all that Berube has guided his team through it. Berube has been good at shaking up the lines to find success, most recently by creating the trio of Scott Hartnell, Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds and Schenn have been on fire lately and have been a huge help to the team’s top line consisting of Claude Giroux, Michael Raffl and Jakub Voracek.
The Flyers have had their ups and downs, but with Berube manning the helm, they have at least been consistent.