Flyers fire coach Barber
Bill Barber became the fifth coaching casualty in as many years for the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers announced Barber's dismissal Tuesday, just days after the team missed the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second straight year.
Assistant coaches Mike Stothers and E.J. McGuire were also fired.
General manager Bob Clarke said the team's veteran players had lost respect for Barber and ultimately that's why he was let go.
"We just felt that there was no way of being able to heal the wounds that had developed between the coach and the players," Clarke said.
Clarke, Barber's former teammate and linemate, said he would offer Barber another job within the organization.
Barber was the NHL's coach of the year last season and this year helped guide the team to an Atlantic Division title and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
But despite their stellar regular season performance, the Flyers lost the best-of-seven playoff series to the No. 7-seeded Ottawa Senators in five games, scoring a record-low total of just two goals. In the process, the Flyers set a postseason record by not scoring a regulation goal in 15 straight periods and also set a mark with a stretch of 316 minutes and 43 seconds without putting a puck in the net.
Barber's dismissal comes just days after players began to speak out against the coach's style behind the bench.
Flyers captain Keith Primeau was especially vocal, saying that Barber and his staff weren't open to suggestions from the players.
"We had the worst power play in the league, why are we not practising it?" Primeau said. "The tirades on the bench. All season long we said if someone makes a mistake, they're getting yelled at.
"We say when we come to the bench, make that adjustment. He wants the player to make the adjustment. Our job is to play. I felt like I was having to make the adjustments on the bench. I don't feel that's part of my job description."
The 49-year-old Barber was named as a Flyers assistant coach in July 2000 and was named the team's head coach in December 2000. He has been a member of the organization for the last 29 years, including four as head coach of the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms (1996-97 through 1999-2000). He took the team to AHL's Calder Cup Championship during the 1997-98 season.
Barber played 12 seasons in the NHL (1972-73 through 1983-84), all with the Flyers. He tallied 420 goals and 463 assists for 883 points and also compiled 623 penalty minutes in 903 regular season games. Barber was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and was a member of Flyers' Stanley Cup Championship teams (1974 and 1975).
The former left winger ranks first on the Flyers' all-time list in goals (420) and third in assists (463). He is also second in points (883) and second in games played (903). Barber is one of only four players to have his uniform number retired by the organization (No. 7).
This year hasn't been an easy one for Barber. In December, he lost his wife, Jenny, to lung cancer.