Are the Flyers Going to Fire Coach Craig Berube?
Are Craig Berube’s days as Flyers coach numbered?
The team’s beat writers have become a Greek chorus on the subject:
- “You have to wonder if head coach Craig Berube can survive this,” writes Randy Miller.
- Berube “appears to be on the hot seat more than ever now,” Dave Isaac writes.
- “A road trip that began with three promising victories for the Flyers had ended with a potential watershed night in New Jersey for them and head coach Craig Berube,” Rob Parent begins his recap of Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils, a game where ex-Flyer Jaromir Jagr became the oldest player in NHL history to score a hat trick.
- Tim Panaccio has a piece today headlined, “As midpoint approaches, Flyers have only gotten worse.”
- Frank Seravalli writes this is the darkest time for the franchise since the early 1990s.
- Sam Carchidi touched the subject early last month when he argued Hextall should give Berube more time.
Things have gotten so bad the players are actually defending their coach and blaming themselves. “[Berube] has given us a game plan and we’re not sticking to it in any form,” goalie Steve Mason said after Saturday’s loss. “We’re letting down Chief. We’re letting down ourselves and the Flyers organization’s reputation as a whole. This is not what we’re supposed to be known for.”
General manager Ron Hextall said in early December Berube’s job was not in jeopardy — but the speculation makes sense. Hextall has said he’s not far from making changes in terms of callups or trades. The Flyers have currently lost five straight. They are 10 points out of a playoff spot, and eight points up on the team with the worst record in the league. The Flyers fired Peter Laviolette after three games last year and have had six head coaches since the start of the 2000-01 season. It could happen.
That five-game post-Christmas losing streak included a string of maladies. The team was even fined by the NHL for traveling on December 26th, in violation of the collective bargaining agreement. And it could have been worse: Claude Giroux was sliced by a skate in Friday’s loss to Carolina, but he escaped major injury and is day-to-day. He did miss Saturday’s loss to the Devils.
It’s a shame for the team, because last year’s annual Disney on Ice road trip — when the Sixers and Flyers have to play a long series of consecutive away games due to Disney taking over the Wells Fargo Center — was very successful, and actually helped the team make its playoff push.
The Flyers had started 1-7 in the 2013-14 season and recovered to make the playoffs. Barring a miracle turnaround, they won’t make it this season. Which means all fans get to do the rest of the year is wait for the other shoe to drop. They can start when the Flyers return home tomorrow night to take on the Ottawa Senators.