There Needs to Be a New Coach in Philadelphia, ASAP

There are very few times when you can definitively say a coach needs to be fired. Craig Berube has become the exception. If there was any doubt that there was tensions behind locker room doors, today erased that. Both sides spoke to the media yesterday, and it did not go well.

Vincent Lecavalier

It’s really hard to deny that Lecavalier has been a tough fit in Philadelphia, but there were multiple points this season where he was severely misued. There’s no doubt Lecavalier is no longer the player he used to be, but he still had 20 goals just one year ago. There were long stretches this year where Lecavalier could have easily been used over Zac Rinaldo. Even when he was playing, he was stuck on the fourth line, why wasn’t Matt Read or RJ Umberger ever sent down there? They were performing ten times worse than Lecavalier ever did.

Well everything is coming to light now.

Berube responded by saying that Lecavalier doesn’t accept his role.

As we said before, it’s no secret that Lecavalier hasn’t lived up to expectations since he became a Flyer. But, could this situation have been handled better by the coach? Absolutely. And it’s understandable that Lecavalier isn’t happy with.

Hearing those words from a potential hall-of-famer with a Stanley Cup under his belt says a lot about how the players may be feeling in the locker room. Lecavalier isn’t lighting up the scoresheet anymore, but it is very telling when someone with a decorated past such as his comes out and says something like that.

Sean Couturier

I’ll start with the comments.

Fair enough, he has more than proven he is a great defensive forward. But…

To sum it all up…

Let’s examine the multitude of problems with Craig Berube’s comments.

Sean Couturier is 22 years old. Nowhere near his prime yet. As mentioned above, how in the world can you compare him to a guy who has

been the best defensive forward in the NHL for years now? You can’t, and it’s an insult to Sean Couturier. In fact, it’s a knock on his personal development. Couturier proved when he came into the league at 18 that he could shut down some of the league’s top talent. Evgeni Malkin probably still has nightmares about the 2012 playoffs. Just because Couturier hasn’t been an offensive machine yet, doesn’t mean he won’t get better. Travis Hughes over at Broad Street Hockey put everything into perspective:

“Among all NHL forwards that played at least 1,000 minutes at five-on-five in 2014-15, Couturier started the fewest percentage of his shifts in the offensive end of the ice — just 25.5 percent. Of that same group of forwards, Couturier also started the highest percentage of shifts in the defensive end of the ice — 38.7 percent of his total 5v5 shifts”

Dig even deeper.

Sean Couturier was just one of four Flyer forwards who finished as a plus this season (+4). Not anything to be overly impressed about, until you realized who he played with. For most of the season, Couturier skated along side RJ Umberger and Matt Read. Read finished the season

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Sean Couturier still put up points this season. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

minus-4, and Umberger finished the season a team worst minus-9.

It gets better.

Couturier’s Corsi percentage was a 48.3% on the season. The guy Couturier spent most of his time playing alongside was Matt Read. His Corsi was 47%. When Couturier was apart from Read, his Corsi shot up to 52.9%  When Matt Read was apart from him, his Corsi plummeted to 43.1%. Combine those statistics with the fact that Couturier started almost 39% of his shifts in the defensive zone, and that speaks volumes about just how good the young forward is defensively. Not to mention the fact that he was between two of the worst defensive forwards on the team.

Give the kid some credit.

Steve Mason

As if Steve Mason wasn’t sore enough from carrying this team all season, Craig Berube just took a shot right to his ego.

As we’ve said before, it’s borderline torture.

For the first time in a very long time, the Flyers had a goalie who put up numbers that were worthy of considerations for the Vezina trophy.

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

Mason was arguably the Flyers MVP this season. Take him away from this team and I would say the Flyers could have easily finished in the bottom three of the league. He more than proved that he could be leader for this team, so where in the world does Craig Berube come up with a response like that?

Mason lost his mentor, played through injuries, played through questionable goaltending choices, and played behind an abysmal defense. What did he give? 110% every single time he was on the ice. That included an insane 46 save performance when the Flyers were long out of the playoffs. What more does a coach want to show leadership? More importantly, how many times can a coach throw him under the bus? Mind you, that comment came just a little while after Berube agreed that the Flyers need more leadership.

Mason has two more seasons left on his contract. He has already lost his goaltending coach, and if things keep going the way they are, it’s hard to imagine he will want to stay in Philadelphia.

The Flyers have a goalie that they need to keep. He has been consistent through last year, and put up outstanding numbers behind a bad team this year. If Ron Hextall wants to avoid another goaltending carousel in Phialedelphia, he is most likely going to need to chose between Steve Mason and Craig Berube, and that choice should not be hard.