Flyers replace Stevens with Laviolette
The Philadelphia Flyers fired coach John Stevens on Friday, giving replacement Peter Laviolette his third go-round as an NHL coach.
General manager Paul Holmgren said at a news conference at Wachovia Center that he made the decision late Thursday after the team was blanked by Vancouver, its second consecutive shutout.
Laviolette, who turns 45 on Monday, won the Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006. He was fired in December 2008 but was still under contract to the Hurricanes.
Laviolette was 167-130-30 in his four-plus seasons with Carolina. He also coached the New York Islanders for two seasons beginning in 2001.
The Norwood, Mass., native said he hadn't seen all of Philadelphia's games this season to totally diagnose the team's failings but he hoped to implement an aggressive forechecking style.
The Flyers, who were expected to contend in the Eastern Conference this season, are 13-11-1 for 27 points and out of the playoff picture, entering Saturday's game against Washington.
Stevens got the job early in the 2006 season after Ken Hitchcock was fired and led the Flyers to the Eastern Conference finals the following season. The Flyers were off to a 1-6-1 start en route to the worst season in franchise history.
Stevens, who led Philadelphia's AHL affiliate to the Calder Cup championship in 2005, used many of those same players to cap one of the greatest turnarounds in NHL history and take the Flyers to the conference finals the next year.
The Penguins knocked them out in 2008 and eliminated the Flyers again in the first round last season.
The additions of goalie Ray Emery and defenceman Chris Pronger made the Flyers a playoff favourite heading into this season. But injuries and a loaded offence that quickly went dry sent them into a tailspin.
Philadelphia has one win in its last seven games and has scored two goals or less in the last four.
Captain Mike Richards called a team meeting after their 3-0 loss to Vancouver on Thursday.
Stevens went 120-109-34. He had two 10-game losing streaks with the Flyers.
A former draft pick of the Flyers in 1984, Stevens had a 15-year pro career as defenceman, including 53 NHL games with Philadelphia and the Hartford Whalers.
Assistant coach Jack McIlhargey was also relieved of his duties. Kevin McCarthy, who assisted Laviolette in Carolina, was hired.