By Mike Harrington
The Flyers looked like Dead Team Skating when they were here Saturday afternoon and I know I wasn't the only one thinking Lindy Ruff might have a chance at a small measure of revenge against Peter Laviolette for 2006 by taking his job behind the Flyers' bench next season.
From the sounds of things coming out of Montreal today, it looks like that's not going to happen.
As reported by Sam Carchidi in the Philadelphia Inquirer, General Manager Paul Holmgren said today that injuries are at the root of the Flyers' evils and "I haven’t even thought along those lines" when asked directly if he was considering a coaching change.
The Flyers, of course, went to the Stanley Cup final under Laviolette in 2010 and were 47-23-12 and 47-26-9 the last two years. But they floundered this year and discussion of the coach grew in full force. Those are called standards.
(Compare that to Buffalo, where the media is regularly castigated for daring to suggest changes are necessary even though the Sabres have not won a playoff series since 2007 and the Bills haven't even made the postseason since 2000. Whatever.)
In Edmonton, meanwhile, the Oilers fired their general manager today as Steve Tambellini has been shown the door after another disappointing season. For all their great young talent, Tambellini hasn't put together enough veterans or enough goaltending to get the Oilers back in the hunt. The Oil, in fact, hasn't even got back to the playoffs since the miracle run to the '06 SCF against Laviolette's Carolina Hurricanes.
To me, the '06 Oilers are like the '07 Colorado Rockies run to the World Series -- complete flukes likely to never be repeated.
On one hand, you can say nice job to the Oilers and be snide to the Sabres by pointing out there's a team that keeps missing the playoffs and fired their GM. On the other hand, I'm hardly giving plaudits here. The Oilers are bringing back Craig MacTavish, whom Tambellini fired, and are also promoting a guy (Scott Howson) who basically butchered the Columbus franchise for the last few years. So if I'm an Oilers fan, I'd watch what I'm celebrating.
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