Statement Made: Stevens Fired, Laviolette Takes Over

In a move that was expected; however, not as early as today. The Philadelphia Flyers have dismissed John Stevens as their head coach. Peter Laviolette has been named the new head coach. Laviolette led the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006.

“This was a very difficult decision for me to make given my relationship with John. I want to thank him for his service to the Flyers organization over the years. However, in watching the team over the past few weeks I felt a new voice was needed in order to get us out of this and in the direction we expect,” said Holmgren. “Peter Laviolette brings experience along with a different approach to the game. We look forward to him putting his stamp on the team quickly and getting our team headed in the right direction.”

The Flyers started the season very promising then went into a free fall. Their 13-11-1 and are 10th in the Eastern Conference standings. They have lost six out of their last seven games and are 14 points back from the division leading Pittsburgh Penguins.

The new Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette was introduced in a press conference that was held at the Wachovia Center. Laviolette, is well-known for his demanding, and no excuses type of play. Whether or not the Flyers players respond is yet to be witnessed.

One of the reasons Holmgren brought Laviolette in was to provide a different voice for the team.

“(He’ll bring) more of an offensive push, pressure style in all zones, not only the offensive zone, but defensive zone, as well,” Holmgren said.
“I want them running out the door and playing the game hard in a system that attacks the puck in all three zones,” said Laviolette. “If you can get a team that works hard, get a team that is disciplined, not only from the penalty box, but disciplined in their life and the system you put on the ice.”

“If you get a team that cares about each other, there is nothing you can’t do. I truly believe that.”

“Obviously this is a great opportunity. I am really excited,” said Laviolette. “The Flyers are an organization that has a lot of tradition and a lot of history. This is just an exciting time for me and my family and we are really looking forward to it.”

Defensemen Chris Pronger spoke with CSNPhilly regarding the decision to relieve John Stevens of his duties.

“It’s disappointing it had to come to this,” Pronger said from his South Jersey home. “What is essentially, whether it be a wake-up call or however you want to legitimize it, it obviously is directed at the players and the way we played.”

“It just depends on the team and where the roster is and all that,” Pronger said. “Sometimes it’s a trade, sometimes it’s firing the coach. We’ve only been in the cap system going on five years now, it hasn’t been that long. At the end of the day, with players’ salaries and what not, it’s a lot easier to use the coach as a scapegoat.

“At the end of the day, the players didn’t get the job done … this is essentially a shot at us that we didn’t do the job.”

Holmgren emphatically stated that Mike Richards is, and will remain the captain of this hockey team.

“Mike unequivocally is the captain of our hockey team,” he said. “Is he perfect right now? Probably not. He’s a young kid learning his role.”

Laviolette added his own take on the captaincy.

“I believe you need a good captain on a team, but I also believe you are who you are in life. And there are people who are good leaders,” said Laviolette. “You don’t need a letter on your chest to be a good leader, but I do think you need someone to grab the team and be that captain.”

“You see things, they become visible. Richards is a pretty good hockey player and competitor. I also know that Chris Pronger is a warrior and a leader. You’re talking about a couple of good pieces there.”

The Flyers will begin yet another era tomorrow night when they faceoff against the Washington Capitals.

Quotes: Philadelphia Flyers, CSNPhilly

4 Responses to “Statement Made: Stevens Fired, Laviolette Takes Over”
  1. Matt says:

    In my opinion, hiring Laviolette is a GREAT hire. He won a cup with a Carolina team that is no where near as talented as this Flyers team. So what does that say? It means he gets the most out of his players. If he can get the most out of this team…watch out. Im glad Homer didnt waste time in making this move, & therefore didnt let them dig themselves into to deep of a hole. I dont think I’m alone in saying, Im very optimistic that this move will just what the orange & black needs…….LETS GO FLYERS!!!!

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