SBD/October 8, 2013/Franchises

Flyers' Culture Questioned After Firing Coach Three Games Into New Season

Laviolette's '06 Hurricanes won the Cup, and his '10 Flyers lost in the Final
The Flyers yesterday fired coach Peter Laviolette after an 0-3 start to the season, and team Chair Ed Snider admitted "anybody looking at this from the outside looking in would say three games is totally unfair," according to Sam Carchidi of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIER. But Snider added, "Quite honestly, training camp was a disaster. I've been at 47 training camps and I've never seen one that I thought was worse." Carchidi writes compounding matters was that the Flyers "missed the playoffs last year for just the second time in the last 18 seasons" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/8). In Philadelphia, Mike Sielski writes under the header, "Flyers' Culture Needs Refreshening." But Snider yesterday was "incredulous that someone would dare suggest his precious hockey franchise might need a fresh perspective on how to win a championship." He said, "We've been in the Stanley Cup Finals a lot of times, and we've been in the playoffs a lot of times, and the culture is to win. Thirty teams are trying to win the Cup, and we're doing our damnedest to do it." Sielski writes while every team "tries to win every year," not every team "regards a season without a playoff appearance -- or even a three-game losing streak -- as a reason for upheaval." The Flyers' "lack of patience, their unwillingness to consider a longer view or embrace an innovation before it's already become old hat, their reliance on the tired cliché of 'Flyers hockey' - together, those factors have created a vicious cycle that has kept them from achieving their ultimate goal." The Flyers "pat themselves on the back, as Snider did Monday, for doing whatever it takes, for acting immediately in the name of chasing championships." Flyers President & COO Peter Luukko said, "Many teams are criticized for not having an identity. Right, wrong, or indifferent, we have an identity." Sielski: "Sometimes, though, an identity can be a franchise's worst enemy" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/8).

FRONT OFFICE MOVE NEXT? In Toronto, Damien Cox wrote, "It's not like the Flyers are doing everything wrong. Just enough wrong to tantalize their fans, and then disappoint them." It is "more like a team that does a lot of right things, but when it really matters, can't identify the missing piece, or pieces" (THESTAR.com, 10/7). QMI AGENCY's Chris Stevenson wrote the "clock is ticking" on Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, and Assistant GM & Dir of Hockey Operations Ron Hextall "is now a heartbeat away from the GM chair." Snider likes to "keep things in house," and Hextall, who had a "huge hand in helping build the Kings into a Stanley Cup winner, fits the profile perfectly." He is an "ex-Flyer -- and was a damn good one, too -- who embodied Philly’s identity when he played" (QMI AGENCY, 10/7).
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