Winless Flyers fire coach Laviolette after three games

Tue Oct 8, 2013 5:45am EDT
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(Reuters) - Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette paid for the team's winless start to the National Hockey League (NHL) season as he was fired after three games on Monday.

Craig Berube, a former Flyers player who was in his seventh season as the team's assistant coach, was named as Laviolette's replacement and will make his head coaching debut on Tuesday when Philadelphia host the Florida Panthers.

"Right from the first day of training camp I was worried about how the team looked," Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said at a news conference. "We have a long way to go this season but it's about how we played and it was unacceptable.

"It was a gut feeling that I had to make a change."

The decision to fire Laviolette, who took over as Flyers coach in December 2009, came a day after the team's 2-1 road loss to the Carolina Hurricanes and marks one of the quickest coaching changes to start and NHL season.

In their first three games of the 2013-14 season, the Flyers were outscored a combined 9-3.

Laviolette, who was in his fifth season behind the Flyers bench, went 145-98-29 with the organization during the regular season and led the team to the Stanley Cup finals in his first year in charge.

But the team lost in the second round of the playoffs in each of the next two campaigns and took a step back during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season when they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Laviolette began his coaching career with the New York Islanders in 2001 before spending five seasons with Carolina, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2006.   Continued...

Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette instructs his team against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Winnipeg in this file February 21, 2012 photo. REUTERS/Fred Greenslade