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Flyers Hire Therrien and Yeo, Gordon Returns to Phantoms

May 6, 2019, 10:59 AM ET [265 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT
UPDATE: 12:45 PM

The Flyers officially announced their NHL and American Hockey League coaching staffs for the 2018-19 season.

The organization has hired former NHL head coaches Michel Therrien (see below) and Mike Yeo (former Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues head coach) to serve as assistant coaches under Alain Vigneault. Ian Laperriere, Kim Dillabaugh (goaltender coach) and Adam Patterson (video) have been retained.

Kris Knoblauch has been relieved of his duties as an assistant coach. Rick Wilson will apparently go back into retirement after un-retiring in December to join the Flyers as the assistant coach in charge of the defense corps.

Most likely, Therrien will be in charge of the Flyers defensemen, and Yeo's duties will include the power play. Laperriere will remain in charge of the PK.

At the American Hockey League level, Scott Gordon will return to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms as head coach after serving as Flyers interim head coach following the dismissal of Dave Hakstol in December. Kerry Huffman will return to the Phantoms' assistant coaching role after serving this past season as interim head coach following Gordon's shift to the Flyers' interim head coach spot.

There was no word on whether veteran coach Terry Murray, who agreed to come on and serve as an assistant coach with the Phantoms under Huffman, will remain in the Flyers organization in another capacity. He will not be on the Phantoms coaching staff.


Quick Hits: May 6,2019

1) Veteran TVA sports reporter Ren Lavoie tweeted on Sunday evening that the Flyers will hire former NHL head coach Michel Therrien as an assistant to Alain Vigneault, although a formal announcement may not come for a few days. Therrien had two head coaching stints with the Montreal Canadiens (2001-02 to 2003-04, 2012-13 to midway through the 2016-17 season) sandwiched around two full and two partial seasons behind the Pittsburgh Penguins' bench.

In some regards, the report is not a surprise. In every one of his NHL stops as a head coach, Vigneault has had at least one assistant with previous NHL head coaching experience. He had Dave King during his own stint with Montreal. He had Rick Bowness with him in Vancouver. With the New York Rangers, Vigneault had Scott Arniel and, later, Lindy Ruff.

As a head coach, Therrien had a reputation for being defense-oriented, rigidly structured and somewhat abrasive of style. It is no secret was not well-liked by some of his players.

For example, while in Montreal the second time around, Therrien had a notoriously contentious relationship with defenseman P.K. Subban. However, Subban's Norris Trophy winning 2012-13 season came with Therrien as his head coach. It should also be noted that Therrien's resume includes reaching Game 6 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final while coaching Pittsburgh and, later, reaching the 2014 Eastern Conference Final while in his second stint with Montreal.

Hockey is a small world, and the NHL is even smaller. Vigneault and Therrien, who replaced the former as Montreal's head coach during the 2000-01 season, have known each other for many years and have a friendly relationship. They have often coached against one another in the past but this will be their first time working together at the NHL level. Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher, who hired Therrien as a part-time pro scout in Minnesota in 2010-11, also has a good relationship with Therrien.

Most recently, Therrien returned to the Canadiens for a third stint -- this time as a scout -- before the reported opportunity arose for him in Philadelphia.

2) Trailing the OHL Finals two games to zero, the Guelph Storm host the juggernaut Ottawa 67's (14-1 thus far in the playoffs) on Monday in Game 3 of the series. Game time is 7 p.m. EDT. Flyers prospect and Guelph captain Isaac Ratcliffe has one point (a Game 1 goal) thus far in the series. Overall for the postseason, he has 10 goals and 22 points in 20 games. Combining the regular season and postseason, he has racked up 60 goals and 104 points in 75 games.

3) May 6 Flyers Alumni birthday: The first Delaware Valley-born player in Flyers history, defenseman Mark Eaton, was born on this day in 1977.

4) Today in Flyers History: May 6, 1976

The 1975-76 season was a magical one for Flyers Hall of Fame right winger Reggie Leach. The “Riverton Rifle” recorded a franchise single-season record 61 goals during the regular season and then tallied 19 additional goals in the postseason to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. Forty-three years later, the latter mark remains tied for an NHL single-playoff year goal record.

On May 6, 1976, Leach picked an ideal time to set a still-standing franchise playoff game record as he strafed the Boston Bruins for five goals. Leach almost did not play in the game, as he had been out late the night before and was not still fit to play until shortly before game time. Only some lobbying of head coach Fred Shero by team captain Bobby Clarke and some day-of-game assistance by Clarke and other teammates enabled Leach to go out on the ice for what became the greatest game of his career.

The two-time defending champions were on their way back to Final for the third straight year. Leach’s five goals were his 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of the 1976 playoffs. He would add four more against the Montreal Canadiens in the Final. Leach’s five-goal game tied an NHL record set by Maurice “Rocket” Richard, and extended his goal-scoring streak to nine games, which broke a “Rocket” Richard record.
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