While Peter Laviolette was a popular choice among pundits who were looking to tag the first coach to be fired this season, most figured he’d survive the opening week.
But with his Flyers off to an 0-3 start and showing much the same formless game that left them outside the playoff mix last season, Laviolette was cashiered this morning, setting a modern-day record with the alacrity of his dismissal. The all-time mark for quickest firing after the start of a season is Paul Thompson of the Blackhawks getting the can after one game of the 1944-45 campaign. Bill Gadsby (Red Wings, 1969-70) got two games and Fred Glover (Golden Seals, 1971-72) three before they headed for the door.
Laviolette is being replaced by assistant Craig Berube.
You can certainly argue the timing — if Lavy’s leash was going to be that short, why let him start the season in the first place? — but you can’t argue the rationale. Philly was lousy through those three games, outscored 9-3, outshot by an average of nearly seven per game, and poorly executing an aggressive system for which the players seem ill-suited.
Those are the sort of indictments that can get a coach fired. But that always seems to be the answer in Philly, doesn’t it? Maybe after going through 11 coaches in 20 years, it’s fair to ask if there’s a more pressing issue affecting the organization.
Just don’t dare ask owner Ed Snider.