July 27th, the Dog Days of Summer.
Not really much to talk about in regards to Philadelphia hockey, although this week there was a ton of hometown news surrounding the Weber offer sheet and Jake Voracek's re-signing, but the Flyers and Coach Peter Laviolette are about to agree upon a contract extension. The Flyers haven't had a Head Coach behind the bench for more than five consecutive seasons since Fred Shero (more on him later) and with this continuation, they hope Peter will be the Head Boss for many more successful seasons to come.
With the signing, I thought I'd give everyone my list of Top 5 Coaches in Flyers history. I guess I was given the assignment because I'm the most wisest of the group, or most knowledgeable....?
....no, it's because I'm the oldest.
So, without further ado, here is my list and please, let us know whether you agree or disagree on our blog's Facebook page.
#5. Pat Quinn (1979-1981) (141-73-48) "The Big Irishman" was as tough as they come. A former Assistant Coach under Fred Shero, Pat led the team to the Stanley Cup Finals against the "Dynasty in the making" New York Islanders. Quinn also won the Jack Adams Award that same year. That season Pat and Company had a record 35-game unbeaten streak, which is still the record today.
#4. Keith Allen (1967-1969) (51-67-32) The Current Executive Vice President for the Flyers didn't have a glorious win/loss record, but he led the Flyers to a first place division title in the first year of expansion. They got beat by a bigger, tougher St. Louis squad in 7-games.
The following season they were swept by those same Blues who pushed around the much smaller Philadelphia contingent. Owner Ed Snider swore that no Flyers team would ever be pushed around again, paving the way for the Broad Street Bullies.
#3. Peter Laviolette (2009-Present) (122-73- 26) Coach Lavvy, the high tempered Bench Boss for our current Philadelphia Flyers. We all know about the timeouts, the fist pumps, the #Jam....but if there's one particular moment that sticks out in my head, it's the moment Rod Brind'amour was having the number on his sweater retired.
The former Flyers Captain battled with his former Coach for years in Carolina, and almost requesting a trade. He didn't and he and Coach Laviolette went out and beat the "Chris Pronger led" Edmonton Oilers in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals. The smile on Lavvys face watching the ceremony was special, and this is my idea of a great Coach. This Flyers team is in good hands with Lavvy behind the bench. The timeout and comeback in Boston, coming within two wins of the Flyers first Cup since 1975. Coach Laviolette will hold the reins while the Flyers paint Broad St. silver & nickel once again.
#2. Mike Keenan (1984-1988) (190-102-28) Nothing would frighten me more than giving up a bad goal and having to face Mike Keenan after the period. Nobody is as tough as "Iron Mike". A two-time Stanley Cup finalist with the Flyers, including that heartbreaking loss to the Edmonton Gretzkys in 1987.
Keenan is the type of Coach that could either make you or break you, which --oddly enough-- sounds like Laviolette. He wasn't shy to push his players to the brink of depression, and you either hated him or wanted him dead, but Keenan got the most of all his players. That's a Coach I'd want for my hockey club.
#1. Fred Shero (1971-1978) (308-151-95). Not many Flyers fans would bump "The Fog" from this top spot. Three time Stanley Cup finalist (Including our only two wins), Shero was the first Head Coach to hire an Assistant. The first Head Boss to lead the Flyers to a winning record for a season.
The first Head Coach to implement the morning skating drills (he did this because he knew the Bullies would be out the night before getting their drinks on). "The Fog" was the perfect Coach for the Broad Street Bullies. Shero could get Bob Kelly to skate through a brick wall if he was asked. This is what Flyers hockey is all about.
(Honorable mentions go to Terry Murray, Ken Hitchcock and Bill Barber)
Pelle Lindbergh had trouble during games with dehydration. He put a water bottle on top of the net so he wouldn't have to skate to the bench to have a drink of water. Coach Glen Sather remarked, "Maybe we want a bucket of chicken on our net. Or a bucket of chicken on their net. Maybe hamburgers. I mean, if you have a water bottle out there, let's have lunch."
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