Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced today that the Flyers have agreed to a multi-year contract extension with head coach Peter Laviolette, terms of which were not released. The current deal was set to expire after the upcoming season, but multiple reports suggest the extension is for an additional two years, locking the coach up through the 2014-15 campaign.
"We are thrilled to have Peter continue his work with our group as we push to compete for the Stanley Cup," Holmgren said through the club's official press release. "Peter has done a terrific job for us and is very deserving of this extension."
Laviolette was just as excited.
"I was really excited to come to a market like Philadelphia, and an organization like this with the history, the ownership, and working for Paul," the coach said via conference call. "I'm as excited today as I was back then about being able to move forward. There's a great group of players here and to come back and be able to continue to work here is where I want to be. Philadelphia is a big market and I was really excited back then and I'm still really excited about that."
The fiery coach took over the helm on December 4th, 2009 following the firing of his predecessor, John Stevens.
The new coach clearly inherited a team in disarray, and his first game was a night later, when the Washington Capitals demolished the befuddled Flyers in front of the home fans by an 8-2 count.
Laviolette was barely able to keep the struggling team in the postseason hunt that year as an epidemic of injuries -- especially to the goaltenders -- and the inconsistent play of his skaters led to a 28-24-5 mark to finish the campaign.
The Flyers qualified for the playoffs on the last day of the season, ending up as the seventh seed following a 2-1 shootout victory over the New York Rangers.
That would turn out to be a galvanizing moment for Philadelphia, as they seemed to gel as a unit from that day forward. Laviolette's squad dispatched of the New Jersey Devils in five games, then quickly found themselves trailing the Boston Bruins three games to none in the Eastern Conference Semifinal.
What happened next will be relived by Philly sports fans for decades to come, as the Flyers became just the third team in NHL history to overcome the three game deficit to win a playoff series. With his team down 3-0 late in the first period in a memorable Game 7 in Boston, Laviolette took a timeout and told his club if they could just get one goal before the end of the frame, they would win the game. James van Riemsdyk beat Tuukka Rask shortly thereafter, and the comeback was officially on.
Simon Gagne's power play tally midway through the third gave the Flyers their first lead of the game, one in which they made stand up to close out the series in remarkable fashion.
The journey that year ended just two wins short of a Stanley Cup championship in a six-game defeat at the the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Since then, Laviolette's timeouts have become almost legendary in their effectiveness, while his intense and demonstrative mannerisms have made him a fan favorite in Philadelphia.
Laviolette posted a 94-49-21 mark over the last two seasons, finishing with 106 and 103 points, respectively. Both seasons ended with losses in the Eastern Conference Semifinal -- to the eventual Cup champion Boston Bruins in 2011, and to the Stanley Cup runner-up New Jersey Devils this past spring.
The Massachusetts-native boasts a 122-73-26 record heading into his third full season as bench boss of the Flyers, with an overall NHL mark of 366-257-25-60.
Laviolette's biggest achievement remains prior to coming to Philadelphia. In 2006, he guided the Carolina Hurricanes to a 52-22-8 record, then capped the season off with the first Cup victory in franchise history.
The pursuit of Lord Stanley remains his ultimate goal with the Flyers -- who have not reached the pinnacle since 1975 -- and he hopes the chase will resume without the delay of a work stoppage at training camp in late-September.
"We will go about it as normal," Laviolette said. "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. 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 move forward when they say move forward."
Here's the full press release on the signing:
The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they agreed to terms with head coach Peter Laviolette on a multi-year contract extension, according to 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."
Laviolette was named the 17th head coach in Flyers history on December 4, 2009. Since joining the club, he has had one of the most successful runs of any Flyers head coach in the last 25 years. Laviolette has posted a regular season record of 122-73-26 since his hiring, including back-to-back 47-win seasons - the most wins the Flyers have had in a two-season period since 1985-87. Since Laviolette's hiring, the Flyers have the third-most wins in the Eastern Conference (122), behind only Pittsburgh and Washington (127 each). Over the past two full seasons, the Flyers are second in the Eastern Conference and third overall in the NHL in standings points (209) and in points percentage (.637). The Flyers have also enjoyed unprecedented success on the road under Laviolette, winning a franchise-record 25 games in 2010-11 and matching that total last season.
Laviolette's overall record in the playoffs with the Flyers has also been among the league's best. He led the club on a remarkable playoff run in his first season as the Flyers won the Eastern Conference championship and made the eighth Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history. Under his watch, the Flyers have been the only team in the league to reach the second round of the playoffs (or further) in each of the last three seasons. The Flyers have participated in eight playoff series in that time, more than any other team. In terms of overall playoff performance, Laviolette's teams in Carolina and Philadelphia have taken part in 12 playoff series since the lockout, which is the third-most by any NHL coach after Mike Babcock (17 with Detroit) and Joel Quenville (13 with Colorado and Chicago).
Below is the transcript of the conference call with both Holmgren and Laviolette, which includes a couple of questions about the health and contract status of a couple of Flyers defensemen: