When the Nashville Predators signed Olli Jokinen to a one-year contract, it gave the Preds an offensive player up the middle the team was sorely lacking.
While the Preds aren’t exactly a team known for its goal scoring, Jokinen said there was one major factor that led him to sign there: New head coach Peter Laviolette. As Joshua Cooper of The Tennessean shares, that was all the motivation the 35-year-old Finn needed.
“Obviously with the excitement and the passion about the game and ideas of how he was going to coach this team, that was one of the biggest reasons I decided to come here,” Jokinen said. “Speaking with him, I got excited. I wanted to start playing tomorrow.”
Last season with the Winnipeg Jets, Jokinen had 18 goals and 43 points. If you put those numbers on last season’s Predators team, he would’ve been fifth on the squad in goals and points.
With the addition of James Neal to the team, the Preds are in need of someone to get him the puck to score goals. Jokinen will have competition to do that with Mike Fisher and Craig Smith, but he has an established career of setting other players up. Just ask Jarome Iginla from his days in Calgary.
Mixing in Laviolette’s brand of hockey could help all parties involved to boost their numbers. Having to do it in an obscenely loaded Central Division won’t make it easy.
According to Philly Daily News’ Frank Seravalli and CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio, the Flyers have fired coach Peter Laviolette after four seasons and three games.
Seravalli reports assistant coach Craig Berube will take over. Whether that’s on an interim basis or not remains to be seen. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports John Paddock and Ian Laperriere will join as Berube’s assistants. He adds that assistant coach Kevin McCarthy was also let go.
After missing the postseason last year and getting off to an 0-3-0 start this season, rumors had already begun swirling that perhaps a trade was coming. Instead, it appears Laviolette’s time as bench boss is at an end.
Laviolette was hired during the 2009-10 season after John Stevens was dismissed as Flyers coach. That year he led Philly to the Stanley Cup Final before ultimately losing to the Chicago Blackhawks. He then led the team to the playoffs the next two seasons, bowing out in the second round each time.
According to Kevin Gibson of TSN Research, this is the quickest firing to start an NHL season.
A press conference has been called for 11 a.m. ET today in Philadelphia.
Vincent Lecavalier finally spoke with Philadelphia media and may have gotten a dig in at his former coach, Guy Boucher, while doing so.
While the Flyers finally announced Lecavalier’s deal, he was asked his thoughts about the Flyers’ up-tempo system under Peter Laviolette and if he liked that. It turns out he’s a big fan.
“I like that better than staying on your heels” Lecavalier said. “I think when you’re on your heels a lot more, you’re not in the game as much. You’re not as sharp and as quick. I think if you’re on your toes like the Flyers play, I think it makes you a better hockey player.”
When Boucher was let go in Tampa, it was believed there was tension there between himself and some of the veteran players and his defensive system may have been part of that.
If you’ll recall, it was against the Flyers when Boucher’s 1-3-1 forecheck system was challenged via stalling as the Flyers sat back in their own zone waiting to be pursued.
Perhaps all that staying back on their heels was why Tampa’s defense was so poor the last couple seasons and not the motley crew of blue liners that took part in it. Oh, right.
Another day, another bad loss for the Philadelphia Flyers and this time they were out of it after the first period.
Boston scored three goals in the span of 2:18 of the first including a power play goal from Tyler Seguin to give the Bruins a 3-0 win. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves to earn the shutout in what was another lackadaisical effort from the Flyers.
Philly’s loss coupled with the Islanders’ win over Washington drops the Flyers into last place in the Atlantic Division and keeps them five points back of the Rangers for eighth in the East.
After seeing the way Philly lost on Thursday to Pittsburgh in blowing a 4-1 lead, you’d think a game against a top team like Boston would bring out the best in the Flyers. Instead, they came out with a meek effort that felt like a continuation of their loss to the Penguins and now the question is whether or not it’s time for a major change to be made. At this point, anyone could be fair game to try and fix this team.
Fans in Philly can start feeling a little better about the season today.
Coach Peter Laviolette announced that power forward Scott Hartnell would be back in the lineup for this afternoon’s game against Winnipeg. Hartnell has missed the last 16 games with a broken foot and his return comes at the perfect time.
Philly has seen its share of injuries up front with Matt Read missing time most recently while guys like Wayne Simmonds, Danny Briere, and Sean Couturier have all missed at least a little time. Hartnell will bring some added scoring touch on top of his physical play up front and give Claude Giroux someone more familiar to play on his left side.
In three games this year, Hartnell had one assist and 13 penalty minutes.