By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The end seemed inevitable for Peter Laviolette.
The Flyers head coach was rumored to be on the hot seat even before the season started. After an 0-3 start, the Flyers fired Laviolette and replaced him with Craig Berube. The former Flyer served as an assistant under Laviolette, and described what he believes needs to change for the team to get back on the winning track.
“Team defense,” said Berube. “I don’t think we’re playing well without the puck. We need to play a lot better without the puck, and I think we need to compete a lot harder.”
Berube knows all about competing. He was a very popular player for the Flyers during his two stints with the team. “The Chief” played a rugged style and appears determined to bring some of his toughness to his players.
“I’ve been a Flyer my whole life,” Berube said. “It’s a great honor. Everyone from Mr. Snider down has always looked after me.”
Berube has paid his dues. He serves as a head coach for the Philadelphia Phantoms before becoming an assistant with the Flyers. Berube is thrilled with his opportunity, even though he is well aware of the lack of job security for an NHL coach.
“It’s tough,” said Berube. “You don’t like to see anyone lose their job, but that’s the business. We all know that and when we’re doing this job, we know that it can happen at any time.”
Berube is ready to put his stamp on the Flyers, but many wonder if he has enough talent to succeed. General Manager Paul Holmgren said the players have to take their share of the blame for the coaching change, but he also believes the Flyers have enough talent to get back into contention.
“I believe in our players,” Holmgren said. “I said earlier that I’m not going to let them off the hook, because at the end of the day, they didn’t do their job, either. We have good players. We’re just not playing very well.”
Now, it will be Berube’s turn to try and turn the season around.