Monday, October 7, 2013

Laviolette Canned By Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers on Monday fired coach Peter Laviolette and replaced him with assistant coach Craig Berube.

In addition, assistant coach Kevin McCarthy, who had also worked with Laviolette with the Carolina Hurricanes, was let go. Added to the coaching staff were director of player personnel John Paddock and director of player development Ian Laperriere.

Holmgren called the move a "gut feeling" he had on the plane ride home from Carolina on Sunday after the Flyers' 2-1 loss, their third straight to start the season.

"Right from the first day of training camp I was worried about how the team looked," Holmgren said. "We have a long way to go this season, but it's about how we played and it was unacceptable. It was a gut feeling that I had to make a change."

Holmgren said he was going to meet with the players later Monday, and said they would be held accountable as well.

"I'm not going to let the players off the hook," he said. "Things have to get better and they will."

Berube was in his seventh season as an assistant coach with the Flyers, including the last six on the staffs of John Stevens and Laviolette.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to have Craig coach the Philadelphia Flyers," Holmgren said. "Craig is one of the smartest guys I've ever been around. He demands respect, he holds people accountable and he's a no-B.S. kind of guy. I'm looking forward to Craig taking over the team."

Berube's first game will be Tuesday, when the Flyers host the Florida Panthers.

This is Berube's first chance as an NHL head coach. His only other experience as a head coach came in parts of two seasons with the Flyers' American Hockey League team, the Philadelphia Phantoms, in 2006-07 and 2007-08, in which he went a combined 52-30-8.

Berube said his first task would be improving the team's defense. In the first three games, the Flyers allowed nine goals.

"I don't think we're playing well enough without the puck," Berube said. "We need to play better without the puck and we need to compete a lot better."

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