Stevens says he feels lucky to have been a Flyer
Recently fired Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Stevens had
only positive things to say about his former team Monday when he
spoke publicly for the first time since he was fired last week.
Stevens was let go by general manager Paul Holmgren and replaced
by Peter Laviolette. The Flyers had lost six of their last seven
games – the last two by shutout – when Holmgren decided a change
was needed. Holmgren indicated he will offer Stevens another
position in the organization but Stevens said he would like to keep
his options open.
“Your emotions are disappointment, it’s more about letting
people down,” Stevens said during a conference call. “You go
through a process like this, the team not meeting expectations, you
feel responsible. I feel extremely lucky to be part of this
organization for so many years (drafted by the Flyers in 1984), to
have worked for an organization totally committed to winning.”
Stevens took the Flyers from the worst record in 2006-07 to the
Eastern Conference finals in 2007-08. If he has any regret, it’s
that he wasn’t able to get the Flyers to the final step.
“Obviously my goal and dream was to win the Stanley Cup and
that didn’t happen,” he said. “I think it will be important for
me to pull back and review what went on here.”
Stevens is known for keeping his emotions on an even keel behind
the bench. He finished his tenure in Philadelphia with a record of
“I’m going to miss it here,” Stevens said. “My family (sons
John and Nolan) has grown up here, the passion of the Philadelphia
sports fans is unbelievable. The atmosphere at home games is
something I will miss.”
Holmgren said the decision to fire Stevens was among the most
difficult he’s made in his career. Stevens reiterated that he
understood why the change was made.
“I think he’s doing what he feels in his heart he has to do to
win,” Stevens said. “Peter Laviolette is a good man, a good
coach. I respect Paul’s decision and I’m moving on. I have nothing
but fondness and respect for Holmgren.”
Stevens declined to comment on the team’s performance leading up
to his dismissal. As for the future, he said he would love to coach
again in the NHL.
“Coaching is something that I love to do,” he said. “I would
love to do it again.”