Highlights from Monday's press conference regarding the decision to replace head coach Peter Laviolette with Craig Berube:
GM Paul Holmgren on the decision to fire Laviolette:
"I think from a timeline standpoint of my decision, on making this change at such an early point in the season, I can go back a little bit to last year with my concerns on how the team played. Looking back, you think, lockout, shortened year, we didn't have a training camp, we had a lot of injuries — I thought it was important that Peter had another shot with our training camp.
"I think some of the additions that we made this summer were good additions — Ray Emery, Vinny Lecavalier, and Mark Streit. I think there was some excitement about our team going into training camp, and right from day one of training camp I was concerned about how the team looked. … We don’t look like a team at all.
"It was just a gut feeling that I needed to make the decision. I made the decision last night on the plane, when we were coming back from Carolina."
Holmgren on Craig Berube’s coaching credentials:
“Craig is one of the smartest hockey guys I've ever been around. He's learned the coaching business over the last nine years. He's been a head coach with the Phantoms. He demands respect, he holds people accountable, and he's a no B.S. kind of guy. I'm looking forward to Craig taking over the team starting today.”
On changing coaches frequently:
Holmgren: "I've only been a part of a couple of those — well, maybe I was on the back end as a coach, but obviously, the expectations are big for the Flyers. We expect to be in the playoffs; we expect to win. Sometimes, that's just the way the business goes."
Chairman Ed Snider: “It wasn't a mistake with Peter Laviolette. He did a very good job for us. But right now, we've been struggling, and we think we need a change. I'm a fan of Peter Laviolette. I think he did some very good things for this organization. It's a tough day when you have to let somebody go, but Paul felt it was time to make a change, and I would never say to Paul, 'you can't make a change.'"
Holmgren on whether he thought about making a change at the end of last year:
"No, not really. You think back — did it enter my mind that we needed something, maybe a fresh voice, maybe new ideas …? But I like Peter. I think that he deserved another opportunity. We made some changes in the summer that got us all excited. It was a fleeting thought. At the end of the day, going back — I think it was the right thing to do at the time. Start training camp, start the year with Peter — I just didn’t like what I was seeing. It was a gut decision."
Holmgren on Laviolette’s service to the team:
“I'd be remiss to not thank Peter Laviolette for what he brought to the Philadelphia organization over the last three-plus seasons. I think Peter did a good job. He's a good coach, and we wish him all the best. You know what, things weren't going well, and we needed to make a change, and I felt that this was the right time."
Holmgren on what the team is missing:
"This is just a gut feeling on my part. Right now, we're just not playing the way we have to play. We're not playing well enough to win in the National Hockey League, and that has to change. Whether it's fresh ideas or a new voice, I'm not going to sit here and try to pinpoint that, that's up to Craig. That’s his job. But I didn't like the direction that the team was heading, and I felt we needed a change."
Holmgren on whether Laviolette's message was no longer getting through to the players:
"Maybe. Sometimes that happens, in all sports. Sometimes teams need fresh ideas, or a new voice, or whatever. Peter Laviolette worked his ass off for the Flyers. It just came to that point where I had a gut feeling on my part where I felt we needed a change."
Snider on his recent statement that Laviolette wasn't on the hot seat and what changed since:
"First of all, it's Paul's job to make these kinds of decisions. From my own point of view, I'm very disappointed in the start that we've had, and quite frankly, I was very disappointed in the preseason that we had. I'm hoping for better. We always try to make the team as good as we possibly can. Sometimes, we're not right. Hopefully, this time, it will work our on our behalf."
Snider whether the team needs a change in culture:
"We haven't won a championship, but we've been in the Stanley Cup Final a lot of times, and we've been in the playoffs a lot of times, and the culture is to win. Thirty teams are trying to win the Cup, and we're doing our damnedest to do it. That's our culture. That's our culture."
Reporter: Need a fresh perspective?
"No, we don't need a fresh perspective. We have a pretty good culture, and we know who we're dealing with."
Craig Berube on needed changes:
"Well, first of all, team defense. I don't think that we're playing well enough without the puck. We need to play a lot better without the puck, and I think that we need to compete a lot harder."
Holmgren on whether the Flyers have the players necessary for Laviolette's style of play:
"Well, it's a fair question. First of all, I believe in our players. I said earlier that I'm not going to let them off the hook. At the end of the day, they didn't do their job, either. But I still believe in our players. We have good players. We just weren't playing very well. We need to play better."