Author: Jason Brough

Philadelphia Flyers v Buffalo Sabres

Flyers fire Berube


The Philadelphia Flyers have fired head coach Craig Berube, the club announced today.

The news comes just two days after GM Ron Hextall said he wanted to think some more before making a decision on Berube. There was speculation that Hextall was waiting to see which coaches might become available to replace Berube, though Hextall denied that was the case.

The Flyers missed the playoffs this season by 14 points. They went 42-27-10 last season under Berube, fighting back to make the playoffs after Peter Laviolette was fired early on. Berube went 75-58-28 overall on the job.

The Flyers will start searching for a new head coach “immediately.”

Philadelphia joins Toronto and Buffalo as teams officially in need of new coaches. Expect to hear Mike Babcock’s name linked to all of them. And if the San Jose Sharks part ways with Todd McLellan, expect to hear his name too.

Berube’s dismissal also brings up the question of whether Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier could return next season. The two men did not see eye-to-eye on how Lecavalier was used, with Lecavalier suggesting it had become impossible for the two to coexist.

Related: Three reasons to wonder if Babcock might pick the Flyers

Hitch calls for Blues to ‘simplify’ their game


The coach who’s been accused of providing too much information for his players to digest believes his team made things too complicated in last night’s loss to the Minnesota Wild.

“You really have to simplify your game in the playoffs,” St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “I thought when we didn’t get the shots through at the start, we started to play a very complicated game that made us at times look slow, and we were into the ‘make the next play’ rather than play it off the goalie and see what he’s got.”

We mostly mention this given what forward T.J. Oshie said a couple of weeks ago after a bad loss to Vancouver.

“I know we’re not (in the playoffs) yet, but there’s a lot of information going around, and guys are getting a little indecisive,” Oshie said. “I’m not sure what it looks like from up top, but I think guys aren’t really sticking with their gut and going with their first instinct.”

As Luke Thompson of FOX Sports Midwest wrote, Oshie’s comment was “as close to a direct repudiation of Hitchcock’s coaching philosophy as you’re likely to hear from his players.”

Granted, we could be looking at this too closely under the microscope. Then again, the St. Louis Blues are very much under the microscope in these playoffs, and they didn’t get off to a very good start last night.

Game 2 of the series goes tomorrow in St. Louis.

Columnist: Don’t fire Johnston when Pens lose to Rangers

Mike Johnston

I’m not even passing this along because the argument is particularly compelling or sensational. It just struck me that the Penguins-Rangers series hasn’t even started and already one prominent Pittsburgh columnist is campaigning in defense of the coach. Is that how dire the outlook’s turned in the City of Bridges?

From Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review:

Mike Johnston should survive.

He probably won’t. The best case anybody can make for his Penguins to upset the Stanley Cup favorite is … well, it’s the playoffs and anything can happen, so who knows?

Everybody knows how this is going to go.

Translation: Rossi believes the Pens have no chance against the Rangers. That’s a pretty bold take, even considering Pittsburgh’s injury situation and how many games Sidney Crosby and company lost down the stretch.

All I know is, when it comes to the NHL playoffs, sometimes it’s darkest right before dawn. You gotta keep the faith.

(Then again, I did write this.)

Desjardins defends limited ice time for Sedins

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks - Game One

Vancouverites woke up this morning, turned on the radio, and heard all about how Canucks coach Willie Desjardins got out-coached in last night’s 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames.

Many listeners did not disagree.

In particular, people wanted to know — why did Daniel Sedin, a top-10 scorer in the NHL during the regular season, only play 16:14 while forwards like Nick Bonino (16:24) and Chris Higgins (16:53) played more? The former was the best Canuck, Corsi-wise, in the game; the latter two were the worst. So it’s not like the coach could say he was just rewarding the guys who were playing well.

Desjardins was asked about it following this morning’s practice.

“We play our best when we’re fresh,” he said. “Maybe [the Sedins] should have had a couple more minutes, probably wouldn’t have hurt. But … there’s no sense burning them out one game. They’re going to be fresh for the next game, and maybe in the end that’ll pay off.”

This storyline is, of course, an extension from last year when then-coach John Tortorella was accused of overplaying the Sedins. Ever since taking over, Desjardins has preached a four-line mantra, a philosophy that paid off in a return to form for the twins and a playoff berth for the team.

Still, just 16:14 for Daniel? And only 4:45 in the third period when the game was on the line? That’s going to get people talking.

Desjardins is apparently taking the long view here. The most any Canuck played in Game 1 was 22:11, logged by defenseman Alex Edler. Radim Vrbata led the forwards at 17:50; Henrik Sedin played just 17:29.

In stark contrast, Flames coach Bob Hartley rode his top players, with three d-men — Dennis Wideman (30:03), Kris Russell (29:07), and T.J. Brodie (26:05) — playing big minutes. Sean Monahan led the forwards with 20:09.

We’ll see how it pays off for each coach. Desjardins will be hoping it’s a long series and that his rested players can eventually take over from the theoretically fatigued Flames. Hartley will be hoping for a short one, with time to rest up for the second round.

Game 2 goes tomorrow in Vancouver.

(Video) PHT Extra: Sens need to control their emotions after Subban slash

P.K. Subban,

For the record, we shot this video before the Senators revealed that Mark Stone had a microfracture in his right wrist as a result of P.K. Subban’s controversial slash.

Regardless of whether Subban should have been suspended or not (the NHL takes injuries into account when determining supplemental discipline), the Sens absolutely need to regroup and get in control of their emotions, which is exactly what their coach, Dave Cameron, was preaching this morning:

Anyway, we also touch on the Blackhawks-Predators game, and how Nashville could live to regret blowing that 3-0 lead: