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Flyers fire coach Laviolette

The SportsXchange

Coach Peter Laviolette was fired three games into the season by the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.

"Right from the first day of training camp I was worried about how the team looked," general manager Paul Holmgren said Monday morning. "We have a long way to go this season, but it's about how we played and it was unacceptable. It was a gut feeling that I had to make a change."

Before Laviolette, no NHL head coach was fired less than four games into the season. The last was Denis Savard by the Chicago Blackhawks, four games into the 2008 season.

Assistant coach Craig Berube was promoted to replace Laviolette. The Flyers are off to a 0-3-0 start to the season. Assistant coach Kevin McCarthy, who came with Laviolette from the Carolina Hurricanes, was also fired.

Holmgren announced additional changes to the coaching staff would include director of player development Ian Lapierre and John Paddock, whose current title was director of player personnel. Holmgren said he planned to meet with the full squad at a workout Monday.

Philadelphia allowed nine goals in the first three games. Berube will be a first-time NHL head coach. His first order of business is addressing the Flyers' defense.

"We need to play better without the puck and we need to compete a lot better," Berube said.

Philadelphia has not scored well, either. The Flyers have three goals, and none from Claude Giroux or Scott Hartnell.

Laviolette, who guided the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals in 2009, was on a short leash after the team failed to make the playoffs last season with a 10th-place finish in the East. He spent parts of five seasons at the post and was 145-98-29.

"I like Peter (and) I thought he deserved another opportunity," Holmgren said. "I think it was the right thing to do at the time, starting training camp, start the year with Peter, (but) I didn't like what I was seeing. It was a gut decision."
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