The Philadelphia Flyers have named Craig Berube as the 18th coach in franchise history, the team announced on Monday morning.
Berube has spent the last 10 years in the franchise, acting in several capacities beginning as an assistant coach with the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Phantoms, and now culminating as the Flyers head coach. Having been named the Phantoms head coach in 2007-08, he registered a 49-29-5-3 record before being promoted to an assistant with the Flyers.
His staff will include John Paddock and Ian Laperriere as assistant coaches. Assistant coach Kevin McCarthy was fired.
Berube's promotion to head coach came on the heels of Peter Laviolette's firing. The Flyers announced on Monday morning that Laviolette had been relieved of his duties after a disappointing performance in 2013 and an 0-3-0 start this season that saw the team record only three goals.
Manager Paul Holmgren said he made the decision to fire Laviolette during the plane ride home from Carolina after the team's 2-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Sunday night. He also admitted that he considered firing Laviolette last season. Originally hired 25 games into the 2009-10 season, Laviolette led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final in his first season as coach. He then registered consecutive 47-win seasons that both ended in Eastern Conference semifinal appearances. Last season was Laviolette's only losing campaign with the team.
Questions now persist about what Berube has planned to alter the Flyers' fortunes. The team has looked sloppy in their defensive zone and has failed to generate offense. Berube stated that he didn't like how the team has played without the puck and will attempt to tighten up the defense.
Whether that is possible remains to be seen.
With Laviolette out of the equation, Holmgren becomes the next in line in the event Berube is unable to turn the team around. Ron Hextall joined the organization this summer as assistant general manager and is clearly the replacement in waiting. If Philadelphia fails to qualify for the playoffs this season, Hextall certainly won't be waiting very long.