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Peter Laviolette the odds-on favorite to be first NHL coach fired this season

Oct 1, 2013, 2:10 PM EDT


If you asked Flyers chairman Ed Snider if head coach Peter Laviolette is on the hot seat, he would tell you unequivocally no. In fact, he did just that back in September, one day after the club opened training camp.

“As far as Peter [Laviolette] is concerned, last year was an anomaly. He’s been a very good coach for us. A good coach in this league. We’re thrilled to have him.”

So there you have it. Lavvy’s job is totally safe.

Alright, so endorsements such as these are never a great sign for coaches. The fact that somebody even had to question where or not Laviolette was in the clear is reason enough to believe he may not be. Now are you willing to bet your hard-earned money that he won’t last the season?

According to current odds provided by, not only does the Flyers’ head coach appear headed for a pink slip—oddsmakers believe he could be the first to get the axe in the entire NHL this season.

Who will be the first Head Coach Fired in the 2013-14 regular season?

Peter Laviolette (PHI)                 2/1
Bob Hartley (CAL)                     5/2
Kirk Muller (CAR)                       3/1
Mike Yeo (MIN)                         4/1
Claude Noel (WPG)                   9/2

Personally, I think Lavvy is probably safe if he can navigate the Flyers through these first couple months without hitting too many snags. If the Orange & Black get out to a slow start though, and are sinking quickly in the Metropolitan Division around December, a quick hook is not out of the question.

The most recent example of this front office changing their minds within a matter of months was on Ilya Bryzgalov this offseason. Snider and general manager Paul Holmgren gave Bryz a vote of confidence too—now he’s collecting in the neighborhood of $40 million to sit around at home.

Regardless, at only 2/1 odds, I’m not sure it’s worth the gamble.

We’ll see if Laviolette has a similar fate coming to him. The Flyers made some big moves this offseason, and the chairman will no doubt want to see some progress early on.

  1. Pete - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    I like how he’s selected as a Team U.S.A. assistant coach, so obviously it’s his coaching abilities that will get him canned, right? The man can coach, period. If the Flyers slump, it’s the impotence of the players at fault.

    • dku5 - Oct 1, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      good assistant coaches are not necessarily good head coaches.

    • T800m101 - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:17 PM

      Hahahaha! What a delusional fool you are. Laviolette’s system is a failure, and not to mention he’s a pansy coach that refuses to dress a tough lineup. Did you even watch any of the pre-season games? The way the Flyers lost to the Devils was eerily similar to their 2012 second round match up against the Devils.

      • mykhuis - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:41 PM

        If Laviolette refuses to dress a tough lineup, then why did he consistently play Jody Shelley over Nik Zherdev in 2010-11? Why has he consistently started Jay Rosehill every night since he’s gotten here?

        Here’s the problem with “tough” lineups: This ain’t 1985. Complain about the “New NHL” all you want, but enforcers are irrelevant now. Coaches play guys with hockey skill. Sure, some of them may have rough edges to their game, but they’re not just punching bags. Those kind of players are useless in today’s game, so why would you play them?

        Detroit won Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008 without the benefit of a Jody Shelley or Derek Boogaard in the lineup. They had players who weren’t afraid to get their noses dirty (like Darren McCarty), but those guys could kill penalties and play sound defensively and chip in on offense as well. They could be effective at both ends of the ice. The same could be said of any team that has won a Stanley Cup from 2006 on in particular. The “tough” guys on every championship team since then were able to do other things. Even Dave Schulz scored 20 goals in 1973-74.

        The ideal “tough guys” that the Flyers have had in recent years were players like Asham, Carcillo, and now Zac Rinaldo, who were / are effective at drawing penalties, playing sound defensively, and chipping in on offense.

        Tragically, it seems that many enforcers turn to drugs and alcohol to “get their courage up” to fight every night. John Kordic and Derek Boogaard died as a direct result of their addiction; former tough guys like Todd Fedoruk and Brannt Myhres are in recovery. But no, let’s send out a lineup of guys who can’t play but can beat the shit out of the other team, then go home and drink / abuse drugs until they die. Who needs any of that pansy “skill” stuff that wins championships?

  2. 2sentz - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    To blame Lavvy for this team’s trainwreck digression of personnel would be criminal. And good luck finding a more qualified replacement.

    If anything I’d think he’s one or two boneheaded front office moves away from saying, “get me the fuck outta here”.

    • T800m101 - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:18 PM

      Here we go with yet another dipshit new-NHL fan. You’ll get your pussy Olympic hockey in February. Stick to Mancala or something until then.

    • 2sentz - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      T800, did you post this in the wrong spot? What the hell are you talking about?

      • T800m101 - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:07 AM

        No, did you? Why are you defending Laviolette as a coach? His system doesn’t work against defensive minded teams. Also, he’s a vagina of a coach that prefers a softer lineup. Time for him to go.

  3. gq - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    couldn’t disagree more with the comments. Lavy has great one-liners, great speeches, is a class act, but that doesn’t make him a good coach. I personally believe that he has never shown the ability to adjust to teams (a la the Devils and the Rangers). Not being able to beat the devils in one game in the playoffs was beyond frustrating. His system exposes the defense too much, and it is too strenuous to play 82+ games plus playoffs. When guys are tired, guys get injured. The Flyers had almost every defensemen out at some point last year. I love the one-lines, the “jam” and because of that, I’d like him to stay, but not if his coaching and strategy doesn’t change….

    • welp - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      He did beat the devils in the playoffs. 5 times in fact.

      • gq - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        I was referring to the last time they were in the playoffs, two years ago. they win game one and then lose 4 in a row. In the regular season last year they lost 4 games to the devils and won one in a shootout.

    • 2sentz - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      But gq, defensive guys get injured on every team. I’d be interested in any stats showing Lavvy’s D’s are consistently more injured. The guy took us to our first cup series in forever – as a legit underdog – and has proven with good horses he can coach deep into any playoffs. I think if his system had as simplistic flaws as you assert he wouldn’t be as employable – or successful – as he’s been with us and Carolina.

      • mykhuis - Oct 1, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        Two seasons ago, the Flyers had the most concussions in the league. It may or may not be coincidental that Laviolette’s system emphasizes speed through the neutral zone. If guys are moving quickly and they get hit, concussions can happen. And yes, the human body needs rest as well as energy expenditure. Since Laviolette demands that guys come back to the bench dripping sweat, huffing for air, etc. after every shift, you know what happens? Dehydration, tissue damage, and injury happen.

        As far as Lavioette’s system, it has been exposed by now. The salient part of the link:

        “The argument against [Laviolette in Carolina] was that his system was weak defensively — watch the odd man rushes coming at you — and once the rest of the league figured it out, he did not have the ability to change it or adapt.”

        Sound familiar?

    • mykhuis - Oct 1, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      I like Laviolette as a person but not so much as a coach. It’s amazing to me that he was willing to adapt his system to the personnel he had in 2010 but has not done so since. In 2010, the Flyers trapped in the neutral zone, scored on transition plays, had a healthy Chris Pronger, and got some favorable playoff matchups en route to an Eastern Conference championship. In 2010 the Flyers beat the Devils at their own game.

      In 2010-11, Laviolette instituted his “proper” system which had the Flyers at the top of the league 2/3 of the way through the season, but dropping like a rock over the final 1/3. The season ended with him essentially sticking Bob in the press box while matching Danny Briere’s line against Zdeno Chara in the second round. This was one of the dumbest coaching decisions I have seen in my time as a Flyers fan. It was Terry Simpson-level dumb.

      Two years ago, Laviolette kept his system intact and benefited from an influx of energetic young players as well as veterans with something to prove (Jagr), an occasionally red-hot goalie (Bryzgalov), guys who managed to fill in capably despite a plethora of injuries, and good will from the fan base following 24/7, the Winter Classic, and the implosion of Marc-Andre Fleury (and the Penguins in general) in the first round of the playoffs.

      Last year he tried to repeat the formula from 2011-12, but it didn’t work because the team got worse in the off-season, the injuries continued to mount, and Laviolette didn’t adjust. Notice again that the team got better toward the end when energetic young guys with something to prove started playing more often – Gustafsson, Lauridsen, Manning, McGinn, etc. But those guys were all here because the regulars were injured.

      If Laviolette refuses to adapt his style, he’s no longer going to make it as an NHL coach here or anywhere else. Because he tends to get a lot out of younger players, I could see him doing extremely well at the junior or college level, much like Mike Keenan did before he came to the Flyers in 1984. But the body can only take so much punishment consistently before it starts to break down.

  4. psudrozz - Oct 1, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    i dunno.

    i like the guy. but many of the problems i saw last year were readily apparent in preseason games.

    losing shea weber still bugs me.

  5. BenE. - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:06 PM


  6. Schmidsy - Oct 2, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    The write up says that “Flyers made some big moves this offseason, and the chairman will no doubt want to see some progress early on.”

    Umm.. if they come out flat, I would rest this on Holmer.. in my opinion, he is out of his mind and and needs to part ways. Save( no pun intended0 for Razor, his off season pick ups are retreads on the down side of their careers..

    Polish those clubs boys, I smell an early exit in the playoffs, if they even get there..


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