Oct 7, 2013, 11:53 AM EDT
“We don’t need a fresh perspective” — Ed Snider
And that line — more than any other from Monday morning’s press conference, maybe more than any line at any time — sums up the last 38 years of Philadelphia Flyers hockey.
Craig Berube was officially introduced as the 18th coach in Flyers history on Monday, and the 11th coach since Paul Holmgren’s own tenure behind the bench ended in 1991. Peter Laviolette was fired after just three games. That’s the quickest any coach has ever been fired in league history.
Right from the top, things went south. In fact, it very quickly gave way to an irritated Ed Snider arguing with an equally irritated Howard Eskin. That tells you a lot of what you need to know in case you missed it. Although this end to proceedings paints the clearest picture:
As for specifics, Holmgren said he made the decision to fire Peter Laviolette while on the plane coming back from Carolina last evening. He met with Laviolette this morning, who apparently expressed as much frustration about the state of his team anyone else.
Holmgren, who made a point to say it was decision to fire Laviolette, twice mentioned the excitement surrounding his free-agent acquisitions of Vinny Lecavalier, Mark Streit and Ray Emery over the summer, and how the team had not lived up to that excitement.
“We made some changes over the summer that got us excited,” Holmgren said. “It was a fleeting thought.”
Then he got into the damning quotes: “Right from Day 1 at training camp, I was concerned about how the team looked.”
And in assessing his team’s play over three games: “It was unacceptable. We don’t look like a team at all.”
Holmgren did at one point attempt to slightly remove Laviolette from under the bus, stating: “I’d be remiss not to thank Peter. … He did a good job. … He’s a good coach.
“I like Peter. I thought he deserved another opportunity [after last year].
“Peter Laviolette worked his ass off for the Flyers.”
This conversation — as it should, as it often does when any coach gets canned — will quickly work it’s way right back to general manager and soon focus on what Holmgren’s future should be with the Flyers. The coach is responsible for marking all the pieces fit, but Holmgren is the one who put together the team he was concerned about “right from Day 1.”
Still, the major takeaway from this morning’s presser is that the Flyers are prepared to soldier on as they have since they last won a Stanley Cup. Ed Snider was highly combative throughout the press conference and capped things off in a style that should surprise no one.
When asked if he was worried about the perception Berube’s hire might bolster — specifically, that the Flyers are too insulated by their own history and culture — Snider doubled down, and did so with some anger in his voice.
“Thirty teams are trying to win the Cup and we’re doing our damnedest to do it. That’s our culture. That’s our culture,” he said.
“We don’t need a fresh perspective.”
Thirty teams are trying to win a Cup, but the Flyers’ attempt to do it every single year has led them into one knee-jerk reaction after another.
This is a team operating with a goal in mind, but without any specific road map to get there.
The Flyers are trying desperately to win a Stanley Cup every year, and that’s maybe the biggest part of what’s holding them back from actually doing it.
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