Hey, I actually got a sports prediction right, sort of:
But I do feel the Flyers are probably on the brink of doing something incredibly stupid -- they must, because how else are they going to win back Philadelphia's fickle sports attention otherwise.
The Philadelphia Flyers replaced coach John Stevens with Peter Laviolette on Friday after the team was shut out in consecutive games.
Actually, I don't think firing Stevens was "incredibly stupid," but I do wonder how much the Flyers' need to stay on top of the manic Philadelphia sports news cycle, and the need to stay relevant, at all times, had something to do with it. The Flyers did do something incredibly stupid, however, which was to lose their first game under Laviolette, 8-2. The allegedly talented Flyers' players weren't performing under Stevens, but it takes years to fire your players, and just one afternoon to fire your coach...so there you are.
There was an interesting discussion on WIP over the weekend about what you could call the coaching circle of life -- how floundering teams whipsaw from a stern taskmaster (Ken Hitchcock) to a laid-back players' coach (Stevens) to another taskmaster (Laviolette, allegedly) -- they noted the Birds did the same in going from Dick Vermeil (taskmaster) to Marion Campbell (laid-back) to Buddy Ryan (definitely not laid back!) to...a Rick Kotite, whatever he is. Ultimately, one of these guys stumbles into a collection of future Hall of Famers -- and suddenly he's a genius!
It does seem like "player's coaches" have been on the ascendency for a while -- Joe Torre, Phil Jackson, now Charlie Manuel here. But would we even be talking about these great players' coaches (or managers) if they didn't have, you know, players? Time will tell whether firing Stevens was the right move; few fans quibbled last year when the Sixers fired Maurice Cheeks, but it's become more clear that the recent Sixers were a should-be lottery team that overperformed and made the playoffs two years in a row under Cheeks. Maybe he's the guy they should have brought back this week, instead of No. 3.