The Philadelphia Flyers have been looking for positive change both sides of the bench, and hope that the departure of John Stevens could be a start. Peter Laviolette will be the one replacing him, and the Flyers are holding a press conference now to officially announce the news. The Flyers are sitting 10th in the Eastern Conference after a disappointing stretch of losing 6 of their last 7 games, as well as not scoring since last Friday against the Sabres. They have dropped their last 3 games.
Laviolette has not been in a coaching position since being fired by the Carolina Hurricanes part-way though the 2008-09 campaign . It is clear that Philadelphia has high expectations for it’s team, so being out of the playoffs at any stage of the season is a concern. Maybe falling below the New York Islanders to fourth in the Atlantic was when any patience fans and management had for their team finally ran out.
As would be expected, the slump hasn’t been great for Flyers fantasy owners either, though it really depends on who you’re talking about. Obviously the recent two-game goalless drought hasn’t helped that cause, but Mike Richards had a 3 game point streak before that and 7 points in 10 games. Jeff Carter has been steady with 24 points, but really is underperforming considering where he was at this point last year. This season goals have been sparse for him with only 9, which puts him way down the chart behind guys like Tomas Holmstrom and Rich Peverley. Scott Hartnell is doing as good as could be expected with 18 points, putting him on pace for another 60 point season, and Danny Briere is almost a point per game at 16 after missing time, but he did have a four point night so it’s tough to know what to expect from him.
The real casualty fantasy wise though has been Chris Pronger, who has not scored a point in the last six after going a point a game pace for the first two months of the season. Matt Carle has been worse with only 2 points in his last 14 games, a frustrating development for owners who picked him up after his great start. Behind every winning or losing team though there is a goaltender playing the same way, and that can be said of Ray Emery who Stevens has not shown much belief in, as Sugar Ray was pulled against the Avalanche, let in another four against Buffalo, and leaked six in San Jose all in the same week. Brian Boucher has gone since then and has been OK, but has faltered with relatively modest shot totals. Surely Boucher isn’t the long-term option so it looks like either Emery must get it going again, or at least make a rotation work while the team gets used to the new coach.