Vigneault fired as coach of Flyers, replaced by Yeo
Was 74-54-19 in three seasons, guided Philadelphia to second round of 2020 playoffsby Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
Alain Vigneault was fired as coach of the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.
The 60-year-old, who was in his third season, was replaced by assistant Mike Yeo. Assistant Michel Therrien was also fired.
The Flyers (8-11-4) lost their final eight games (0-6-2) under Vigneault, including 7-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, and were seventh in the eight-team Metropolitan Division.
"To me, our process has been off the whole year," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "I've asked Mike to come in and he's a detail guy. He's had some success in this league.
"Right now, we have to forge a new identity, we have to learn to play the game the right way and we have to get guys to buy in. It's a tough day today, but hopefully this is a new beginning as well."
Yeo, in his third season as a Flyers assistant, lost his first game as coach, 7-5 to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.
"After the game, basically, my message to the players is, 'This is a period where we have to go to work and go to school,'" Yeo said. "There were a lot of examples of the things we want to do and the way we want to play. We can show how that leads to success. The teaching part, that's what's going to be important right now. In order to get the consistency of our game, and obviously, being a team that's hard to play against, not just one shift here and one shift there, but shift after shift, line after line.
"I had some very brief individual conversations with players. We didn't really have a lot of time to do that, to be honest with you. We got to the rink, we had a meeting. Started to meet with some individuals, but when you're on a game day, you've got to kind of allow them to have their game day routine. So we respected that."
Scoring has been a big issue for the Flyers. Entering Monday, they were averaging 2.32 goals per game, which was 28th in the NHL, and their power play was 30th (13.4 percent). In Vigneault's final eight games, they were outscored 36-13, allowed 35.3 shots on goal per game and were 2-for-22 (9.1 percent) on the power play.
They Flyers have also had numerous injuries this season. Defenseman Ryan Ellis (lower body) has missed 19 of their past 20 games and is week to week. Center Kevin Hayes, who had abdominal surgery Sept. 21 and missed the first 12 games of the season, has been limited to five games. Forwards Joel Farabee (shoulder), Derick Brassard (hip) and Nate Thompson (shoulder) are also out.
"I just know that our game is not where it's supposed to be," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "I know we've had a lot of injuries, missing a lot of key players, but at the end of the day, last night was a good example that our game wasn't good enough. Getting embarrassed in your own building, it's not acceptable."
Fletcher said he had been hoping to get some of the injured players back before he made any changes.
"The whole goal through this was I was hoping we could get some people back and get our group together and find what we have," he said. "But we just keep digging a bigger hole right now."
Yeo said more than X's and O's, he wants to see a different attitude from the players.
"We're not going to make a lot of big changes just because I don't think that's the right approach for this game tonight," he said. "In terms of the attitude that we bring, we're going to be ready to compete. We have to make sure that we have sort of a next shift, next play mentality. If the other team scores first, we can't just all of a sudden fall apart in our game. We have to start believing in ourselves that if we compete and battle and play the right way for 60 minutes that we'll have the right result at the end of the night."
Giroux, who has been Flyers captain since 2012, said Yeo shouldn't have a problem getting the players to buy in.
"Mike is, first of all, a great guy," Giroux said. "He's a guy you want to play for. Anytime we have meetings with him or he talks to us, you can see the players really listen. You want to be involved with a guy like Mike Yeo."
Vigneault was 74-54-19 with Philadelphia, guiding it to the Eastern Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2020 before not qualifying last season. In 19 seasons as an NHL coach, he was 722-489-117 with 35 ties in 1,363 regular-season games for the Flyers, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens. He is eighth in NHL history in wins and 13th in games coached.
Vigneault won the Jack Adams Award voted as NHL coach of the year in 2007 and has been a runner-up four times (2000, 2011, 2015, 2020). He is 78-77 in 155 playoff games, guiding the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 and the Rangers in 2014, losing each time.
"It was definitely a weird day. Show up to the rink and two of the coaches are gone," Hayes said following the loss to Colorado. "This is a league of results. I don't think our team has performed the way we want to. Changes were made. It's obviously tough to see those two guys go there. They're great guys. I got to know Michel these last three years; he's helped me a lot. He's definitely had an influence on my time here in Philly. And 'AV,' I've been with AV pretty much my whole career (also with the Rangers from 2014-18). He's a guy that helped me be the player I am today. He's a coach that gave me an opportunity, my first opportunity, in this league. … He expects a lot from his players. I owe a lot to him. I have nothing but respect for AV."
Vigneault is the third NHL coach fired this season (Travis Green, Canucks, Dec. 5; Jeremy Colliton, Chicago Blackhawks, Nov. 6). Joel Quenneville resigned as Florida Panthers coach Oct. 28 after being implicated in an independent investigation into the Blackhawks for allegations by former player Kyle Beach of sexual assault by then-video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010.
Yeo was 246-181-55 in 482 regular-season games, and 17-22 in 39 postseason games as coach of the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues.
NHL.com staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report