The first firing of the 2013-14 NHL season has occurred. Surprisingly, it was the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, Peter Laviolette that got the axe. Some say the pink slip was a ’lifetime achivement’ firing. Others have put forth that it was a combination of a bad pre-season and training camp firing. There a few who say that the wrong person in the organization got fired, and that eyes should have been turned higher up the food chain in the organization.
One man who knows what it’s like to get the pink slip in the NHL is Bruins head coach Claude Julien. He’s had the misfortune to be the only NHL coach to be fired in the middle of two winning seasons. (Montreal Canadiens 2005-06, New Jersey Devils 2006-07) Julien and Laviolette also share a competitive history. Laviolette’s Flyers and Julien’s Bruins faced off in the 2010 Winter Classic. (If you didn’t remember how it ended, the Bruins beat the Flyers 2-1 in overtime.) The Flyers came back and won four games in a row in the 2010 playoffs to knock the Bruins out of the postseason. The very next year, Boston swept Philadelphia on the way to the Stanley Cup.
Julien and Laviolette both have a Stanley Cup win. They’ve both gone to the finals twice. Coach Julien has an awful lot of respect for his fellow coach and he understands all too well that a coach with Laviolette’s resume won’t stay idle for long.
“It’s an early dismissal and as a coach you always like to have an opportunity to right the ship,” Julien said. “Obviously, he didn’t get that but there’s, like I always say, there’s always things we don’t know about so it’s hard to stand here and comment but you feel for coaches it’s tough enough as it is, you try to do a good job and then sometimes it doesn’t work out. He’s another one of those coaches that I think has been good over the years, he’s got a Stanley cup, he’s always had competitive teams, he’ll bounce back.”