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Peter Laviolette allegedly lost the locker room, then went the way of Ken Hitchcock

Oct 7, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT


Too much jam?

Boy if this isn’t beginning to sound like Ken Hitchcock all over again. Hitch, you may remember, was fired just eight games into the 2006-07 season, after he had reportedly lost his locker room, particularly young building blocks like Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.

Bob Clarke also resigned/was removed that day as general manager. Paul Holmgren, who replaced him, did manage to survive Monday.

Following this morning’s press conference, Ed Snider admitted that this wasn’t all Laviolette’s fault, and even frankly stated he would have fired the players instead of the coach if only that were possible. Quote:

“That’s not talking about Peter. That’s talking about our players, and it carried right on over to the first three games of the season. It’s not simply the three games you saw. There’s more to it than that. Basically, there are a lot of things I know that are private.

So, someone asked Snider, you fire the coach because you can’t get rid of the players?

“Right,” Snider replied. “You show me a way to do that, we’ll be glad to do that instead.”

Sound familiar? Here’s an excerpt from the AP’s Hitchcock/Clarke post-mortem back in ’06:

Snider acknowledged the Flyers had tuned out Hitchcock and his demanding style.

“I knew what went on and I feel that’s an unfair statement,” Hitchcock said.

As for what happened with Laviolette, this back-and-forth ESPN chat from Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside paints a familiar picture:

Pierre LeBrun: I do know Berube is beloved by the players and I think that’s where it has to start: re-establishing a trusting relationship between the players and the coach. A source told me Monday morning that Laviolette and the players were no longer on the same page, and that’s not shocking when you saw how they played in the opening three games. The players seemed to be waiting for the coach to be fired. It makes you wonder why the Flyers didn’t make this change last spring, after the Flyers missed the playoffs.

I believe one factor in Laviolette’s firing was an organizational concern that some young players on the team — namely Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn — were not developing properly, or as rapidly as anticipated. The Flyers traded away Carter and Richards because they truly believed Couturier and Schenn were capable of supporting star center Giroux as the team redeveloped its core. It just hasn’t worked out that way so far.

The coach is out in less than 10 games, because he lost the locker room, particularly the young kids who aren’t developing fast enough. For what it’s worth, Schenn is 22 and Couturier 20.

Ed Snider doesn’t feel like the Flyers need a “fresh perspective,” but history only seems to repeat itself with this franchise. With any luck,  2013-14 won’t turn out like 2006-07, the worst season in franchise history.

That campaign led them to lose a coin flip to the Chicago Blackhawks for the rights to the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft — Patrick Kane. The consolation prize, James van Riemsdyk, didn’t develop the way the Flyers wanted either. Neither did the future Vezina goaltender they gave up on after a promising rookie season.

Flyers fans may be tired of rehashing the past, but it’s a part how this team got to where it is.

And here we are on a rainy Monday in Philadelphia.

  1. Sir Digby - Oct 7, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    The Flyers replaced the stern, too demanding Hitchcock with John Stevens, who supposedly had a great relationship with the young players because he was their coach with the Phantoms, until said players took advantage of that relationship, leading to his dismissal and the hiring of the hard-assed Laviolette, who was subsequently too stern and demanding, leading to his dismissal and the promotion of the supposedly player-friendly Berube. Notice a trend here?

    Flash forward 2 years (or less) and Berube will be fired in favor of a more stern and demanding coach. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

    But heaven forbid you suggest to that old fart Snider that the team needs to change it’s culture…

  2. Lol - Oct 8, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Hey, I’ll take another top 2 pick. Nobody was expecting them to win the cup this year.

  3. gq - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    great article. Lavy lacked development of young players, couldn’t adapt in-game, and never adjusted his strategy, which didn’t work. A good move by the Flyers, albeit weird timing

  4. charlie d - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    I’ve been an avid Flyers fan all of my life…..and I honestly do not believe the Flyers will win another Stanley Cup until Snider has been gone for at least 2, more likely 3 seasons. If you don’t understand that he is an out-of-touch 80 year old dictator then you don’t follow the Flyers very closely. Until then I will continue to root for the Flyers as hard as I can and drown my sorrows in ice cold beers every year they almost make it to the Playoffs or almost advance to the next round of the Playoffs.

    BTW – He divorces wives at a fairly high rate as well….he’s divorced 3 of them and married his fourth on Valentine’s Day of 2013 (8 months ago). Rumor has it that she’s already blocking his shots on goal :)


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