Laviolette on the hot seat. AGAIN

Mike Milbury has been interviewing the players from this seasons team and has met with Peter Laviolette several times with regards to the poor performance the team had down the stretch and in the playoffs. It appears many of the players are looking at Laviolette as a big reason the team did not succeed. Although Laviolette has said he made mistakes and will try to learn from them, it appears some players are tired of him and would welcome a change before training camp opens. The Islanders midway through this years campaign picked up Laviolette’s option for next year, but it appears that Milbury now is considering bringing someone else in.

I find this hard to believe for a few reasons. The first being that Milbury hand-picked Laviolette out of the Boston system and he has always been loyal to those from the Boston system. By firing Laviolette, it would show Milbury made a mistake and basically wasted money on a coach that he picked up the option for only a few months earlier. The Isles always talk about the inability to sign free agents because of a budget. This wouldn’t help. Finally there were also indications that certain players attitude’s were a big reason the team didn’t succeed and Milbury is looking to move some of these players.

I think the Isles need to make some personel changes as well as some coaching changes, but not Laviolette. The Isles power play was terrible and the Isles might do better if they bring in a new special teams coach and fire Kelly Miller. The pp dropped especially after Kip Miller’s contract wasn’t picked up. I’m not saying it was intentional, but I’m sure it didn’t help when a player’s contract who performed well wasn’t picked up and his brother is the coach of that unit.

I think there were some holes on the team. They definitely need a legit scorer to play with Yashin. Give him that player and one more defenseman and then determine Laviolette’s fate.

Below is a article from Newsday on the matter:

http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/ny-isles243299340may24,0,5901650.story?coll=ny%2Dhockey%2Dheadlines

While the Stanley Cup finalists are set, the Islanders remain unsettled. General manager Mike Milbury has held extensive meetings with the players and coaching staff during the past month and had several meetings with coach Peter Laviolette. There are indications that Laviolette, hired two years ago without prior NHL head coaching experience, had plenty of fingers pointed at him.

Through team spokesman Chris Botta, Milbury would not give a definitive word on Laviolette’s status.

“The process of evaluation is still going on,” Botta said, relaying a message from Milbury, who was away this weekend for his daughter’s graduation from college.

Though Laviolette’s contract option for next season was picked up by the team last December, he said he has not been given any indication if he will return next season or be fired.

“Mike and I are still talking about a lot of things,” Laviolette said Friday from Florida, where he is with his family on vacation. “Right now my only thoughts and focus are about what we can do better to win a Stanley Cup next year.”

This past season, eight NHL coaches were fired. In Milbury’s eight years as GM, he has made seven coaching changes. Laviolette is aware of the unstable life behind the Islanders’ bench.

“I took no false pretenses coming into this job,” he said. “If there ever comes a time when that happens, then I’ll move forward and look for the next opportunity or next adventure in my life. But those are decisions made by other people. Right now my full intention is to get ready to start preparing and get ready for a quest for the Stanley Cup. I will do that to the best of my ability as long as I am here.”

Milbury, who also was given a contract extension last year, hand-picked Laviolette in 2001 over experienced candidate Bryan Murray, now the GM of the West champion Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. If he sticks with his man, there undoubtedly will be other changes made to the coaching staff. A person with knowledge of the situation said one possibility would be the dismissal of Laviolette’s close friend, assistant coach Kelly Miller, whose power-play unit struggled throughout the season and was a failure in the playoffs.

During the postseason meetings, there was grumbling about coaching. While there is little doubt in Laviolette’s ability to coach, there were complaints about his attitude:

Laviolette wasn’t open to the team’s opinion on what system it felt most comfortable with.

Laviolette didn’t show enough confidence in young players, fourth-line players or third-line defensemen.

Laviolette too often showed concern for what players were saying to the media, especially if it sounded critical of him.

But the players also made sure to acknowledge Laviolette’s tireless preparation and energy. One player said: “I love the passion and intensity he brings.”

Laviolette, told all of this, acknowledged a need to make adjustments and learn from his mistakes. He wouldn’t reveal what he was told in meetings. “There are obvious things I need to do better,” he said, “just as the players have things they could do better.”

He then pointed to the Devils, a team that last season barely got into the playoffs and then was bounced in the first round by the Carolina Hurricanes, who went on to the Stanley Cup Finals. “They made a couple of marginal changes,” Laviolette said of the Devils, “and this year they’re going to play for the Stanley Cup.”

Laviolette forgot something: One of those changes the Devils made was with their head coach, from Kevin Constantine to Pat Burns, last summer.


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