Friday, December 4, 2009

inconsistent Flyers

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia Flyers fired Coach John Stevens Friday after six losses in the team's last seven games.

Stevens will be replaced by Peter Laviolette, a former coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.

"Obviously this is a great opportunity," Laviolette said at a news conference. "The Flyers are an organization that has a lot of tradition and a lot of history."

Philadelphia, which had been expected to be a Stanley Cup contender this season, has a 13-11-1 record and is tied with the New York Rangers for last place in the division.

The off-season, free-agent acquisitions of goaltender Ray Emery and defenseman Chris Pronger have had little impact on Philadelphia's Atlantic Division performance. The Flyers' once-potent offense has not scored in eight straight periods and the last-place standing is their lowest since November 2008.

Before his firing, Stevens said on the team's Web site, "Let's embrace the challenge and the situation we're in and go out and fix it."

Stevens replaced the fired Ken Hitchcock Oct. 22, 2006, and guided the Flyers to last season's Eastern Conference finals.

The inconsistent Flyers won five in a row from Oct. 31-Nov. 12, but lost five of seven from Oct. 8-27.