As expected, Peter Laviolette picked up a two-year contract extension on Wednesday.
The Flyers' head coach, whose deal would have expired following the 2012-13 season, was extended by general manager Paul Holmgren.
"We are thrilled to have Peter continue his work with our group as we push to compete for the Stanley Cup,” Holmgren said. “Peter has done a terrific job for us and is very deserving of this extension."
That Laviolette was extended was not surprising, because he earned it. That’s not to say all three of his seasons have been particularly rosy.
His first year – 2009-10 – saw the club qualify for the playoffs on the final day of the season. When postseason began, the Flyers went on an unforeseen run to the Stanley Cup Final, creating history along the way with a 3-0 series comeback against the Boston Bruins.
Next year, the Flyers won the Atlantic Division with 106 points – a Flyer best for Lavy – then were dusted in four games by those same Bruins in the second round. Boston would go on to win the Cup.
Last season saw the most competitive yet in the East. Though the Flyers finished with 103 points, the best they could manage due to the fact four Atlantic Division teams made the playoffs, was fifth-overall in the East.
Still, they destroyed the heavily favored Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round before being badly outplayed by the eventual Cup runner-up New Jersey Devils in the second round.
The Flyers' embarrassing collapse against the Devils last May remains a shocker to many, and it’s something management expects won’t be repeated.
Laviolette’s record with the Flyers is 122-73-26. Fred Shero, the greatest coach the Flyers had who won two Cups here, had 113 victories his first three years as a coach. That said, the season was 78 games then – not 82. Of course, Laviolette only coached 57 games in his first season with the Flyers, having taken over for ousted coach John Stevens in December 2009. That differential more than offsets the lengthier seasons Laviolette has coached.
Laviolette could join Ken Hitchcock as a coach under contract during a lockout. Hitch had to perform a myriad of duties – many of which were public relations in scope – to earn his salary during the 2004-05 lockout.
Laviolette, according to a club source, will have to do the same if a lockout occurs.