In yet another stealth, early-morning move, the Philadelphia Flyers extended the contract of head coach Peter Laviolette.
“We are thrilled to have Peter continue his work with our group as we push to compete for the Stanley Cup,” Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. “Peter has done a terrific job for us and is very deserving of this extension.”
No terms of the deal were disclosed, but multiple reports stated that the pact is for two years, lasting through the 2014-15 campaign.
Laviolette, a Massachusetts native, was named to the post on December 4, 2009 to replace John Stevens. Despite an inauspicious start to his Philadelphia coaching tenure — an 8-2 loss to the Washington Capitals in his first game behind the bench — he became the fifth coach in club history to lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals just six months later.
The former US Olympian, Calder Cup winner (Providence, 1999) and Stanley Cup winner (Carolina, 2006) has posted a regular season record of 122-73-26, with a 23-22 postseason mark.
Having led the Flyers to consecutive 47-win seasons the last two years, Laviolette is the first coach since Mike Keenan (with 99 from 1985-87) to post as many victories in that span. That total includes back-to-back seasons of 25 wins on the road, also a club record.
Over a coaching career that spans parts of 10 seasons with the Islanders, Hurricanes and Flyers, the 47-year-old has gone 366-257-60 with 25 ties in 708 regular-season tilts, with a 43-39 postseason record.
Despite reservations in some quarters about looming labor strife when the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on September 15, Laviolette seemed as resolute and focused as you’d expect:
“We will go about it as normal. I think there is a lot of preparation in the month beforehand with regard to your team and what it is shaping up to be, ” he said during a Wednesday conference call. I don’t think anything will change that. Hopefully we start and move forward as planned, but if we don’t I guess it gets delayed and you forward when they say move forward. I don’t think anything will change in regard to the team’s preparation. When it is scheduled to go right now, our coaching staff will be prepared to prepare the players for the season.”