Flyers fire coach Berube; new targets reported

The Hockey Central at Noon panel reacts to the news that the Philadelphia Flyers have fired head coach Craig Berube and discuss where the organization could look for a replacement.

The Philadelphia Flyers have fired head coach Craig Berube, general manager Ron Hextall announced Friday morning, and will begin searching for a new head coach immediately.

According to CSN reporter Tim Panaccio, the Flyers’ short list of targets includes three coaches currently under contract with other teams:

Hextall had discussed Berube’s fate with the media Wednesday but said he wanted to avoid making a “knee-jerk” call and was still evaluating whether or not to fire the head coach, who had also spent six seasons as a Flyers assistant.

“I wanted to make the right decision,” Hextall told reporters Friday. “I put all the facts together, but in the end, you go with your gut.

“You’re looking for the coach who fits your team. In the end, we’re looking for the guy to take this group to another level.”

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The 49-year-old Berube, whose club failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, still had one season remaining on his contract.

The Flyers went 33-31-18 this season and finished sixth in the Metropolitan Division.

Forward Vincent Lecavalier spoke to reporters Monday and explained that he couldn’t see himself having success as a Flyer as long as Berube was behind the bench.

Flyers owner Ed Snider believes Philadelphia is talented enough to be in the playoffs and spoke clearly about his dissatisfaction in the team’s 2014-15 campaign last month.

All told, Berube spent 18 seasons within the organization as a player, assistant coach and head coach — doing all three with both the Flyers and AHL Phantoms.

Gotta See It: Craig Berube addresses media for final time as head coach

Berube began his tenure as head coach on Oct. 7, 2013, once the Flyers axed Peter Laviolette after a 0-3-0 start. The team improved under Berube and secured a spot in the 2014 NHL playoffs.

Failing to roll that success into 2015, the coach told reporters Monday he was not bothered by the rumours that he would be fired.

“What bothers me is not making the playoffs and the season we had,” Berube said. “We all expected more.”

The Flyers’ 18th head coach leaves the job with a record of 75-58-28.

Philadelphia joins Toronto and Buffalo as clubs in search of a new head coach, while the future of Boston coach Claude Julien remains in doubt with this week’s firing of GM Peter Chiarelli.

Hextall told media Friday that he did not ask for players’ input on Berube and that he hopes to have a new coach in place before the NHL Draft, which takes place June 26-27.

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