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Video: PHT Extra – Should struggling Flyers blame Laviolette?

Mar 14, 2013, 8:50 PM EDT

Whenever a team underachieves, people start looking for easy targets to blame. Coaches are often the first guys to take the fall in those situations.

If anyone can relate to both sides of the equation, it’s Philadelphia Flyers bench boss Peter Laviolette. After all, he was an in-season hire in 2009-10, taking that struggling team on a hot run to the Stanley Cup finals before falling short against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Now he might be the one on the hot seat, so PHT’s own Jason Brough and Mike Halford ponder the question: how much is Laviolette to blame?

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  1. President Charles Logan - Mar 14, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    He is part of the blame as is Bryzgalov and the lousy Defense…… but I just think his players have tuned him out , there’s only so many times one guy can scream “show some jam”.

  2. 950003cups - Mar 14, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    No. He’s been fine adjusting as a coach in the past. Sometimes the guys on the ice getting the big paychecks have to make the big plays. I’m not saying always just maybe, maybe once in a freaking while.

  3. jimw81 - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    It’s Ed snider fault. He puts too much loyalty into the people he surrounds himself with and thinks he’s going to win a cup. He needs to stop hiring people in front office or in the organ-i-zation and hire real hockey people. the loyalty he had in Bob Clarke is showing up in Holmgren. Holmgren is primary responsible for this disaster and should be fired alongside Lavy and start fresh.

    • flyerkidd - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      I agree but not for the reasons you give. For years after Hextall this team has not put the right amount of weight in the goalie position. Then in 2010 after the team has an amazing run and falls just short…Snider goes crazy and spends $51M on a goalie!

  4. nunan - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:10 PM


  5. President Charles Logan - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    A trip the the Finals followed by two 2nd round losses , not good enough for the pressure thats on that team and city right now to get a cup.

  6. hockeyfan28 - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    Lavy is part of it but so is an inconsistent goalie, a nutty gm who made some weird trades and gave us no farm system, having only one defensemen who can make an outlet pass out of his own zone, and Danny Briere deciding to retire a couple years early since the guy wearing number 48 this year obviously is his evil former synchronized swimmer twin

  7. gbar22 - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    I’d look at holmgren sometimes I feel like the flyers are too aggressive much like the rangers are in acquiring big names instead of sticking with their own players. Holmgren has been quick to trade young players for veterans and sometimes that just doesn’t work. Keep your own talent and grow. Flyers west won a stanley cup last year so they had the players at one point that could do it. I call LA flyers west because of all the former flyers they had on their team. Imagine if they still had carter Richards JVR and Bobrovsky instead of bryz. Would this team be struggling? I dare say no.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:27 PM

      I agree somewhat with what you’re saying but I hafta disagree where you say “Holmgren has been quick to trade young players for vets”. He traded Carter and Richards (vets) for Simmonds, Schenn, Voracek, and Couturier (youth), JVR (youth) for Schenn (youth), Bob (youth) for Stolarz (2nd rd youth), he traded the Preds their 1st rd pick back for Hartnell and Timonen, traded Steve Downie (youth) for Matt Carle (youth), etc. There have been very few trades where he’s given up actual young prospects for aging vets. The only real trade of that variety that sticks out to me is giving up Lupul, Sbisa, and a few picks for Pronger. I guess you could consider the transactions where he gave up picks for Gagne, Grossmann, Kubina as those types but there aren’t many. Overall I think he’s done a very good job of holding onto young talent. I mean he refused to give up BSchenn and Couturier for anything, including Shea Weber. I’d say Bob Clarke had much more of a penchant for giving up prospects for old vets.

  8. gbar22 - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    And I throw in now they want to get rid of courturier? Dumb move. Let your players develop Bc they do draft well they just need to be more patient and they would have won a cup by now. Adding Superstars doesnt always equal success look at the rangers this year.

  9. ibieiniid - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    I didnt think I would admit to there being too much Flyers news… but holy shib dude. PHT ran the ‘Laviolette might be gone if Flyers lose again’ story, then the ‘Holmgren said he won’t be firing Lavy’ story, now the ‘SHOULD Lavy be fired story.’

    Give it a rest… theres so many other better storylines to cover. How’s Patrick Cane’s mouthguard-chewing withdrawals? If we get a team in Seattle and in QC, where will the next 2 (or 4…. to make all you alignment critics happy) teams AFTER that go? Is Magnus Paajarvi the coolest name in hockey?

    (he’s still getting chills and can’t sleep
    Birmingham, AL and London, England

  10. martysbetter - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    Not a lot of leadership out on the ice, a lot of young players with no level-headed veterans to look up to when things are going bad. Hartnell and Giroux seem to be the go-to guys as far as speaking for the team, I think they do a poor job of keeping their own emotions in check on and off the ice..what kind of message does that send to the younger players?

    A coach can only do so much.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      knuble is about as veteran as you can get….just doesnt seem like he wants that role and he hasnt been on the ice very much. goes back to coaching – why go out and get the guy and not play him? you opt to put in guys like rinaldo and zolnercyk instead who just promote chaos out there. when’s the last time rinaldo gave anything but pim’s?…just saying

  11. stakex - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    The real problem isn’t Laviolette…. its Holmgren. The Flyers have three large problems, and they are all his doing:

    1. The Flyers defense is weak, even before their recent injuries. The problem stems from the fact that Pronger was suppose to be the rock on the back end… and when he went down, the Flyers never really replaced him. Granted its hard to replace a guy like Pronger, but you have to at least try.

    2. An ineffective offense. Now, the Flyers do have some decent players that are simply not producing right now… but their offense is over rated. They have shed more offensive talent then they have added over the last couple years, both with trades and letting players walk (Like Jagr), and its hurting their depth upfront.

    3. Goaltending. In fairness to Bryz, hes back stopping a struggling team with a terrible defense right now. Still, hes not really playing good and hes doing little to help his team fight through their struggles… and not having Bobrovsky doesn’t even give them a solid backup. It was a poor decision to put all their eggs in the Bryz basket this year, especially after the nightmare that was his season last year.


    Virtually none of that is Laviolettes fault. He has to coach the team he is given, and its just not that good a team.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 15, 2013 at 1:15 AM

      I agree with all 3 of your points, but you can’t blame Holmgren for not replacing Pronger. Hall of Fame dmen don’t grow on trees, they’re the premium position in the league right now. And he DID try to replace him, several times. The offer sheet to Shea Weber was clearly his best attempt and it almost worked. But he also extended an offer to Ryan Suter for more than he signed for with Minny. Unfortunately you don’t get credit for attempts in this business. No question their #1 priority this offseason is finding a top dman, followed closely by Goaltending.

  12. steelers88 - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    I don’t think Laviolette should be fired but I think if the Flyers lose Friday night I think he might be done.

  13. xflyersx - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:53 AM

    It’s the SALLYS on the ice that refuse to play hard for a full 60 minutes

  14. spavs412 - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    I think Jagr meant way more to their top 6 than the points he scored.. He was the real C last yr. Lead by example of how to be a pro and how to win games. That Nancy Claudia is not a great leader..

    • xflyersx - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:37 AM

      Couldn’t agree more.

  15. modellforprez - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    hard to imagine this genius cannot get “best player” giroux and the rest of the pumpkin patch pissants to play better while it is fun to watch the only better scenario would be if they completly impload which should be happening soon.

  16. metaligoat - Mar 15, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    this is primarily the fault of a combination of Lavy and Homer (mostly Lavy), no question. most of the Flyers’ problems right now are caused by boneheaded plays that don’t require elite talent to execute. as thin as the Flyers are on the blue line, look at a team like Minnesota when Jacques Lemaire was still there. they never had elite talent up and down their lineup, but they could play basic defense. yes, scoring was an issue, but at least they were in almost every game. these Flyers are a lot of fun to watch when they’re playing teams that are worse than them, but as soon as they run into anybody who’s any good, they’re a train wreck.

    the Flyers repeatedly make the same kinds of mistakes no matter who is on the ice, which shows that nobody (aka the coaching staff) is holding them accountable for those mistakes. it’s not just a couple guys not playing well, it’s damn near everybody. you know, things like giving up 5 2-on-1 rushes in a single period like they did on Wednesday, or not being in position to clear rebounds off your porch, not covering weakside passes, stuff like that. you don’t need elite players to clean this stuff up, you just need to work on those things in practice and remind your guys what Defense 101 is. when’s the last time you heard Lavy even say the word “defense”? it’s like the team doesn’t work on this stuff. that’s on him.

    the other problem is that Lavy runs an uptempo system that heavily concentrates on offense and requires defensemen to pinch. a LOT. that’s all well and good, when you have defensemen capable of doing that intelligently. for the most part the Flyers don’t have that. they have a lot of middling guys whose strengths are actually defensive, not offensive. however, Lavy is pushing them to play his system, rather than realizing that he doesn’t have the right personnel to even run his system, and as a result those guys are abandoning their own instincts in order to try to play Lavy’s style. a good coach adapts his system to his personnel in order to maximize results with the current roster. i think Lavy is a good enough coach to do that, but he clearly hasn’t actually done it yet, and i’m baffled as to why that is.

    the bottom line is that Lavy is trying to fit square personnel into a round system. he needs to change the focus and get them playing a style that plays more to the strengths of the roster, and if he’s not willing to do that, he has to go. maybe not this season, but certainly next season if this continues. yeah, you can blame Homer for not giving his coach the type of personnel he wants, but at the same time, the only available guys who fit that mold (at least as far as D is concerned) were Weber and Suter, and Homer did his level best to get them. this is on Lavy, and he needs to adjust what he’s asking the players to do on the ice, or someone else needs to do the asking.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 15, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      You make a lot of good points. If this team would just clean up the constant, backbreaking turnovers, for example, they’d probably have 3-5 more wins. It’s almost impossible to count the number of times they’ve sent teams on odd man rushes just trying to force an extra pass, pinching when they shouldn’t, or playing out of position. And how about making line changes at inopportune times. I mean they never seem to get the puck deep in the offensive zone before they go for a switch, which leads to prime scoring chances the other way. Just look at the Buffalo game where Briere goes for a line change and no one replaces him. They end playing 30 seconds with 4 players, essentially giving the Sabres a short PP, and it results in a goal. How does that happen?? And the number of “too many men” on the ice penalties have been unbelievable. It’s like a never ending train of mental mistakes. And I guess that goes back to coaching. But I also think the abbreviated camp, no Preseason, and next to no practice time has really hurt this young team. And the NHL didn’t give them a break at all in the schedule. I mean 21 games in 32 days, or whatever it was, is unheard of. Especially when they gave teams like Boston something like 14 games in that same span. How do you expect the Flyers to recover from a slow start when there’s no time to practice and work to stop the bleeding. They were doomed with the 2-6 start, especially when 12 out the first 20 are on the road. And how bout the fact that the Flyers played as many back to backs in the first five weeks as the Pens play all season. How do the schedule makers explain that one? It’s just been a perfect storm of mental mistakes, injuries, inconsistency, and forces beyond their control. And the result is the record we see today.

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