Out with the old, in with the older?
OK, that’s not exactly what the Flyers are doing, but it’s not that far off. When the team decided to part ways with coach Peter Laviolette Monday morning (well, technically late Sunday night), many assumed it was a chance to add fresh perspective to the organization, maybe inject a much-needed shot of youthful energy. Kind of like what the Eagles did with Chip Kelly.
Instead, Laviolette’s successor will be Craig Berube, a former enforcer for the Orange and Black. Berube, 47, has been on the Flyers’ coaching staff (minors and pros) since 2006. This continues a pattern for the Flyers, a team that has seen plenty of guys with long-standing organizational ties hired and fired in recent years. The Flyers have seen many coaches — 11 different ones in the past 20 years — come and go. Flyer stalwarts, like Bill Barber, Ken Hitchcock, John Stevens, that just couldn’t deliver the goods.
When asked specifically if some fresh perspective was needed, Flyers chairman Ed Snider didn’t stutter.
“No, we don’t need a fresh perspective,” Snider said. “We have a pretty good culture, and we know who we’re dealing with.”
But what is that culture? Snider has often pumped his chest about being loyal, but maybe he’s loyal to a fault. The front office is decorated with plenty of former Flyers, like GM Paul Holmgren and assistant GM Ron Hextall. And many of the famed Broad Street Bullies remain on the payroll in ambassdor-type roles. Snider also has a fondness for bringing back ex-players way past their primes.
All this and no championships in 38 years. Perhaps it’s time for a change at the very, very top. Until then, Snider will continue to do things his way.
“We haven’t won a championship, but we’ve been in the Stanley Cup Final a lot of times, and we’ve been in the playoffs a lot of times, and the culture is to win,” Snider said. “Thirty teams are trying to win the Cup, and we’re doing our damnedest to do it. That’s our culture. That’s our culture.”