Was firing Peter Laviolette a big mistake? What could have been if Peter Laviolette stayed with the Flyers? Things definitely would have been different.
Laviolette was a big hit as a coach in Philadelphia, unfortunately his time here came to an end way too soon. Before his time with the Flyers, Laviolette already had a great coaching job in the NHL. He started out in the ECHL, with the Wheeling Nailers, coaching them for one season, and leading them to the a third round exit in his only season as coach. He then join the Providence Bruins, as their head coach. He won the Calder Cup in his debut season as coach with the Bruins, which earned him a gig as an assistant coach of the Boston Bruins. Being from Boston, Lavy was poised to be the new head coach of the Bruins, but ended up not getting the job and took his coaching to Long Island and was named the coach of the New York Islanders. He spent two season as head coach of the Islanders leading them to a near Atlantic Division title, and then in his second year, the Islanders sneaked into the playoffs.
After leaving Long Island, the Carolina Hurricanes gave him a call to be their coach starting in the 2003-2004 season. He coached them for 52 games during his first season, which was a rebuild year. In his second season he worked wonders. Winning 52 games, racking up a total of 112 points, had the Hurricanes taking the Southeast Division. Laviolette lead the Hurricanes to their first ever Stanley Cup title in 2006, winning in a tough 7 games series against Edmonton Oilers. Laviolette, was fired in 2008, and was replaced by Paul Maurice, who was replaced by Laviolette in 2006. After getting fired, Laviolette turned to broadcasting, and was hiring by TSN in 2008.
December 9, 2009, the Philadelphia Flyers had fired their head coach, John Stevens, and Laviolette returned to an NHL bench again. He took the Flyers to the playoffs in the season he replaced Stevens, by a last game shootout win against the New York Rangers. This was the starting magic run for the flyers that year. After sneaking into the playoffs on the last day, the Flyers faced their division rival New Jersey Devils in the first round of the playoffs, winning in 5 games 4-1. The second round of the playoffs, was a real tough spot for Lavy, and his flyers team. Playing Boston, and going down 3-0, the team had no hope, but magic happened, and the Flyers came back to win that series 4-3, being the only third NHL team to ever do it. Coming off a miracle against Boston, the Flyers faced off against Montreal Canadiens, beating them in 5 games 4-1. Setting them up for a Stanley Cup final matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks ended up winning the Cup in 6 games, on an OT goal by Patrick Kane. This being the Flyers first time in the Stanley Cup since 1997 against Detroit Red Wings, getting swept in 4 games. Laviolette brought a great mindset to this Philadelphia team, and challenged them to win and fight, night in and night out.
Firing Laviolette could possibly go down as one of the biggest mistakes that happened in the Flyers history as a franchise. Yes he started his final season as coach 0-3, but there have been many other time where coaches for other teams started out worse, and still stayed the team’s coach. The lack of patience may have bit this team in the foot. Since his departure as coach, Laviolette took over the Nashville Predators head coaching position and changed that franchise over. Being in his third year as coach, he has the Predators in the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins while the Flyers watch the playoffs from home. Laviolette was a fan favorite here, especially when they played against the Pittsburgh Penguins, in 2012 where Lavy was nearly face to face with Dan Bylsma. Greatest moment in coaching history!