Peter Laviolette is back where he belongs: coaching in the NHL. On Tuesday, the Nashville Predators announced the hiring of Laviolette, becoming only the second person to hold that title in franchise history.
This is Lavy’s first head-coaching job since he was fired as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers back in October, and I know what you’re all wondering.
Does this in any way affect the fantasy that the Predators will trade All-Star defenseman Shea Weber to the Flyers?
In all seriousness, there’s not much of a Philly angle to this story beyond Disgraced head coach in Philly gets another shot. Laviolette earned the rather dubious distinction of becoming the earliest mid-season firing in NHL history when the orange and black made the move to replace him with Craig Berube just three games into the 2013-14 campaign. The Flyers were 0-3-0 at the time.
Largely as a result of that embarrassing situation, Laviolette never received a proper sendoff.
Lest we forget, this is the same man who took over for John Stevens in December of '09 and wound up leading Philadelphia within two wins of the Stanley Cup. The same man who needed to be restrained by Berube or he would’ve climbed into the Pittsburgh Penguins bench to attack head coach Dan Bylsma. The guy who we learned could string together a series of curse words that would motivate a locker room like no other thanks to HBO’s 24/7 series during the lead-up to the Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park.
While his departure was actually slightly past due, I’ll look back on Laviolette’s tenure as Flyers head coach fondly. After all, the team he signed on to coach in ’09 and led to an Atlantic Division championship in ‘10 was not the same one he missed the playoffs with in ’13 or was relieved from in October.
It’s nice to see Laviolette back in the NHL—and in the Western Conference, where the damage he does to the orange and black can be contained.
>> Predators hire Peter Laviolette as new coach [AP]
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About NBC internships
Another old friend is joining the Phillies' coaching staff as a guest instructor in Clearwater this spring.
Bobby Abreu will make his coaching debut, while Larry Bowa, Brad Lidge, Charlie Manuel, Dan Plesac and Mike Schmidt will all be back to assist in spring training.
Gabe Kapler has a lot of experience on his side as he prepares for his first camp as a major-league manager.
Abreu was a polarizing player in these parts, drawing criticism from fans for a perceived lack of hustle and not nearly enough praise for hitting .303/.416/.513 in his nine seasons with the Phils. He was one of the most complete players in the game during his peak from 1998 to 2006.
The Phillies' first workout with pitchers and catchers is Feb. 14 in Clearwater. Full-squad workouts begin on Feb. 19.