Today is April 18, the one-year anniversary of Alain Vigneault's introduction as Flyers head coach.
Philly has enjoyed Year 1 with its French Canadian bench boss who has brought a blend of toughness and lightheartedness that has endeared him to the city.
Now that it has been officially one year with Vigneault in charge of the Flyers, let's look back at his five best quotes since he was unveiled as the franchise's new leader:
Vigneault lights up whenever he sees Oskar Lindblom, the Flyers' 23-year-old forward who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in mid-December.
This was just one instance in which Vigneault raved about Lindblom's presence and what it does for the team.
“He was smiling," Vigneault said Feb. 22 when Lindblom visited the Flyers after a victory. "Great smile, looked beautiful.
“Makes everybody feel good. There’s no doubt that we’re all behind him, his teammates are obviously checking up on him on a regular basis and so is the whole staff.
"But to see him live, it’s just beautiful.”
We've found out Vigneault's way to toast a victory or to briefly relax during a long and time-consuming season.
A fresh martini.
Back in January was Vigneault's first mention of his preferred adult beverage. Now it has become a hit among Flyers fans.
"Right now, I’m going home tonight, I’m going to have a martini,” Vigneault said Jan. 8. “I’m going to enjoy the win."
There's a savviness in how Vigneault deals with the media and his players.
He is not shy in holding his players accountable or challenging them when he knows they have more to offer.
Vigneault showed he wasn't messing around during the preseason and made it clear in November he needed more from his veteran players.
"Older guys, because of their reputation, because of what they’ve done in the league, they have more leash, they have more money in the bank," Vigneault said Nov. 18. "Some of our guys, they’ve used a few withdrawals.
"Obviously they feel pressure, but that’s why they’re paid the big bucks. You’ve got to deliver, you’ve got to produce, and we expect those guys to produce."
The Flyers didn't have many setbacks between Jan. 8 and the NHL stoppage on March 12, going 19-6-1 without consecutive losses during that span.
They had a bad clunker, though, on Jan. 16 — a 4-1 home loss to the Canadiens a day after they beat the defending champion Blues in St. Louis.
Was it an emotional letdown?
“You know that word that starts with B?" Vigneault asked.
"I mean, these are big games. There’s almost nothing separating teams. And tonight, it’s a couple plays. I understand emotionally, but points are the same. This game was worth two. Last game was worth two. You’ve got to get up for it, you’ve got to get yourself ready, it’s going to be a battle.
"You do know the word I’m talking about, right?”
What would this article be without a quote from Vigneault's introduction?
Here's a good one that stuck out:
In my bucket list, I need one more thing: I need to win a Stanley Cup. I've come close twice. I've been very lucky to work for three great organizations: the Montreal Canadiens, the Vancouver Canucks and the New York Rangers. I've come close twice. I think this will be the right one.
Flyers fans sure hope so. They've been waiting since 1975.
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