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Flyers Make Changes to Coaching Staffs

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
Craig Berube Returns As Phantoms Head Coach

Joe Mullen and Jack McIlhargey Named Flyers Assistant Coaches

Kjell Samuelsson Named Phantoms Associate Coach

Neil Little Named Phantoms Goaltending Coach

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Flyers Press Conference

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Coaching Changes Add Depth

The Philadelphia Flyers announced that Craig Berube has been named head coach of the Flyers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, according to club General Manager Paul Holmgren. In addition, the team announced that Joe Mullen and Jack McIlhargey have been named assistant coaches for the Flyers, that Kjell Samuelsson was named associate coach for the Phantoms and that Neil Little will join the Phantoms as goaltending coach.

“We are extremely excited to have both the Flyers and Phantoms coaching staffs in place for the future,” said Holmgren in making the announcement. “There has been a little internal shuffling with Craig (Berube) moving back to become head coach of the Phantoms again and adding Neil Little to the Phantoms staff. Kjell (Samuelsson) will continue to be a member of that staff as associate coach, with his main focus on the defensemen.

Jack McIlhargey
“Adding Jack McIlhargey and Joe Mullen to the Flyers staff gives John (Stevens) experience and knowledge from the offensive and the defensive end.  Moving forward we feel very good about our coaching staffs.”

Berube, 41, returns to the Phantoms after serving as their head coach for the first six games of the 2006-07 season. He had compiled a 3-2-1 record before being named an assistant coach for the Flyers on October 23, 2006. He was originally named head coach of the Phantoms on June 14, 2006.

Prior to being named head coach of the Phantoms, Berube served as an assistant coach for the team for parts of three seasons (2003-04 through 2005-06). He joined the Phantoms organization after signing as a free agent on November 18, 2003, and was named a player/assistant coach on January 29, 2004. He recorded six assists and 134 penalty minutes in 33 regular season games for the Phantoms during the 2003-04 season, his 18th and final professional season.

Over parts of 17 NHL seasons (1986-87 through 2002-03), Berube registered 61 goals and 98 assists for 159 points and 3,149 penalty minutes in 1,054 career regular season games for the Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals and New York Islanders. His 3,149 career penalty minutes ranks seventh on the NHL’s All-Time List.

In parts of seven seasons with the Flyers (1986-87 through 1990-91, 1998-99 and 1999-2000), Berube recorded 20 goals and 34 assists for 54 points and 1,138 penalty minutes in 323 regular season games. His 1,138 penalty minutes ranks ninth on the Flyers’ All-Time List. He was originally signed as a free agent by the Flyers on March 19, 1986.

McIlhargey, 55, most recently served as a professional scout for the Vancouver Canucks and had served the Canucks in a variety of roles over the last 20 years. He was an assistant coach for the Canucks for seven seasons (1999-2000 through 2005-06) and was head coach of the Canucks’ top minor league affiliate for eight seasons in Milwaukee, Hamilton and Syracuse (1991-92 through 1998-99). He was also an assistant coach for the Canucks for seven seasons from 1984-85 through 1990-91.

A native of Edmonton, Alberta, McIlhargey played eight seasons in the NHL with the Flyers (1974-75 to 1976-77, 1979-80 and 1980-81), Vancouver (1976-77 to 1979-80) and Hartford Whalers (1980-81 and 1981-82), recording 11 goals and 36 assists for 47 points and 1,102 penalty minutes in 393 regular season games. In 128 regular season games with the Flyers, McIlhargey registered three goals and seven assists for 10 points and 497 penalty minutes.

Mullen, 50, joins the Flyers’ coaching staff after serving as an assistant coach with the Phantoms this past season.
Joe Mullen

After starting the 2005-06 season as an assistant coach with Pittsburgh Penguins, he took over the head coaching position of the Penguins’ AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, after the promotion of Michel Therrien. He finished the season with a 28-16-3-5 mark. Prior to joining Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he was an assistant coach for Pittsburgh for parts of six seasons (2000-01 to 2005-06).

A native of New York, NY, Mullen played 17 seasons in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh and Boston Bruins (1979-80, 1981-82 through 1996-97), recording 502 goals and 561 assists for 1,063 points and 241 penalty minutes in 1,062 regular season games. His 502 goals are second all-time among U.S.-born players. He was a member of three Stanley Cup Championship teams, with Calgary in 1989 and Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992. A three-time NHL All-Star, Mullen twice won the Lady Byng Trophy as “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability” (1987 and 1989). He was named to the NHL First All-Star Team following the 1988-89 season, after setting career highs for goals (51), assists (59) and points (110) in a season, while leading the league in plus/minus with a +51 rating.

In 1995, Mullen received the Lester Patrick Trophy “for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.” Mullen became the first American-born player to record 1,000 points when he picked up an assist on February 7, 1995, and became the first American to reach the 500-goal plateau on March 14, 1997. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2000, two years after his induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame (1998).

McIlhargey and Mullen join Terry Murray and Reggie Lemelin as assistant coaches for the Flyers.
Kjell Samuelsson will return for his eighth season with the Phantoms as associate coach. He was originally named an assistant coach in July 2000. He led the Phantoms to a 28-39-7 record in 74 games this past season after replacing Berube as head coach.

He played 14 seasons in the NHL (1985-86 through 1998-99) with the New York Rangers, Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. The former defenseman recorded 48 goals and 138 assists for 186 points and 1,225 penalty minutes in 813 regular season NHL games. In parts of nine seasons with the Flyers (1986-87 to 1991-92 and 1995-96 through 1997-98), Samuelsson registered 35 goals and 106 assists for 141 points and 815 penalty minutes in 545 regular season games. He won the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers’ most outstanding defenseman twice, for the 1988-89 and 1990-91 seasons.

Samuelsson was originally drafted by the New York Rangers in the sixth round (119th overall) of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.
Neil Little

Little, 35, retired from professional hockey after the 2005-06 season, concluding a 12-year career, which included 10 seasons with the Flyers’ American Hockey League affiliates in Hershey and Philadelphia.

Over parts of 11 AHL seasons (1993-94 through 1997-98 and 1999-2000 through 2004-05), Little compiled a 203-146-41 record, 2.77 goals-against average and 18 shutouts in 419 regular season games, including a 177-121-33 record, 2.64 GAA and 18 shutouts in 351 regular season games as a Phantom over eight seasons. He is the Phantoms’ All-Time Leader in wins (177), shutouts (18) and games played by a goaltender (351). He was inducted into the Phantoms Hall of Fame in 2006. He is the only Phantom to play for both Calder Cup Championship teams (1998 and 2005). He was winless in two career NHL games with the Flyers. He was drafted by the Flyers in the 11th round (226th overall) of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft.

His professional experience also includes playing for the Johnstown Chiefs (ECHL) in 1994-95, the Grand Rapids Griffins (IHL) in 1998-99 and the Blues Espoo (Finland) in 2005-06.
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