Has the time come for the Philadelphia Flyers to hand head coach Peter Laviolette his walking papers?
Without a doubt, the man they warmly call “Lavy” in Philadelphia, has been successful in his tenure as he has led the Flyers to their first Stanley Cup appearance since 1996-1997 season.
During his tenure, Laviolette has guided the Flyers to the playoffs every year he has been in Philadelphia. The problem is Laviolette is not finding the same success that he had in his first year with the club, which was only 57 games.
If you look at his coaching career, either his first year or second is his best with a team. After taking the Flyers to the Cup Finals he has went one and done both years, getting decimated in the second round winning a combined one game.
Lavy is a barker and that wears on players after a while. Look at when Ken Hitchcock was head coach, who was known as a barker, and you can plot an almost similar path to Laviolette. The Flyers organization would go in a different direction in John Stevens, who was a more mild-mannered coach only to see that blow up miserably.
Now, the Flyers have reverted back to a barker in Laviolette, and his time might be up.
Owner Ed Snider is not a very patient man when it comes to winning. With the Flyers looking very much like they will not make the Stanley Cup playoffs, it would not be surprising to a change. If Philadelphia goes on a sustained losing streak of four to five games look for the trigger to be pulled quickly.
If Philadelphia battles through the rest of the season and fails to make the playoffs look for Laviolette to be sent packing along with possibly GM Paul Holmgren and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
John is the NHL Editor-in-Chief for The Inscriber Digital Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @JohnnyMacNHL. E-mail him at JohnnyMachurek@TheInscriber.com.