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.


11 Responses to Laviolette on the hot seat. AGAIN

  1. Kashin says:

    I have mix feelings about him as of late. At first when he was hired he had to win me over. I wanted Ted Nolan. However he pulled off a mircle. People became better players because of him. 90% of the team had carrer years over the past two seasons. They started the season rough because of injuries but then they came back. It made sence to pick up his option. They won 2/3 of their games from when Peca returned until the end of February when all the defensemen got injured. They lost 4 straight. But everyone was injured. Then they had 4 key victories in their next 7 games including a 9-2 win over Chicago. At that point they were in 6th/7th place. Then everyone took off. Even from before that Peca and Parrish just stopped playing. Who’s fault is it? Theres but Laviolette could have done something about it. He became a players coach which was a huge msitake. THey won only one game since the Chicago game. THey didnt win a home game since end of February. THere are questions to be answered and you can start pointing fingers.

    THe only thing that I’m happy about is that now at least there is expectations for a team that two years ago they were the most pathetic team in all of sports. I would keep him but he needs to take stronger action.

  2. MantaRay says:

    I Laviolette did a great job with what he had.

    I don’t think any coach could have made Shawn Bates and Jason Blake produce as much as they have the past two seasons.

    Who was the last Isles coach to get them in the playoffs?

    Who fault is it the Milbury makes horrible trades? (Bertuzzi, Luongo, etc).

    I feel sorry for Islander fans that Milbury would get rid of the best coach the Isles have had in a decade all because Milbury isn’t getting the headlines anymore.

  3. Kashin says:

    The Answer to that question is Al Arbour. WHo was one of the greatest coaches ever. Then Dike Milbury came in and cleaned the house as coah and as GM in the begging he got rid of Turgeon and Thomas. He has only three trades that are considered great trades in Peca, Hamrlik and Jonnson. Laviolette is 8 wins away from being 2nd on the all times Islander wins list. I think the Luongo trade did help for the fact that they could get Osgood and they got Parrish. However they could have had Jokinen. That trade and the Yashin trade are still question marks.

  4. NYIchooch75 says:

    OK, first of all, this is nothing. Nothing is going to happen. Laviolette will not get fired, this is a ploy to let him know that coasting into the playoffs and having a first round exit is unacceptable.

    Second, to blame Milbury for trades 3, 4 & 5 years ago is ridiculous. Every single Islander fan at the time of the Bertuzzi trade, hated Bertuzzi. He was a lazy, soft player, and all he did was complain that people expected him to be a Gillies-type player. It was the same situation with Isbister the last two years. Who the hell knew he would blossom into a top power foward in the NHL. Not one of us. As far as Jolkinen, the guy had one career year. Before we bow down before him and consider him a great player, let’s see if he can keep it up.

    People need to remember that when we traded Bertuzzi and Jolkinen and a host of other players, those players brought nothing to the table night in and night out. They were lazy, out-of-shape and had no motivation or fire. Milbury brought in a lot of good players. Yeah we gave up Luongo, but we added a 30 goal scorer we desperatley needed. You can’t judge that trade until we see how DiPietro does. And we did get Ozzie who played awesome last year and for stretches this year. Milbury solidified the D-corps, added a true captain and a top goal scorer in Yashin. He added role players like Bates, Blake and Wiemer and also added a great player in Dave Scatchard…for nothing! He added Asham, who may not score 30 goals, but he brings an intensity every night for every game.

    The Islanders can’t spend money like the top 5 teams in the league. They can’t overpay for players. They traded everyone in salary dumps because the owners before Wang & Kumar wanted a $15-million dollar payroll.

    All the fans calling for Milbury’s head must not remeber the nightmare called the Don Maloney-era. Kirk Muller! – Our Savior…

    The Islanders have some good, young talent ready to make the jump to the NHL in Weinhandl, Mapletoft, Hunter and Papineau. They have 4 picks in the first 2 rounds in what some people are calling the deepest draft in decades. There is no doubt that the Isles will add a first line scorer this off season.

    As for the coaching, yes, Laviolette needs to improve things. He is a very young coach with limited experience. But I know for a fact that Milbury will not fire him. He knows it will be a step in the wrong direction. The team is on the up and they need a few years of stability. Geez, it’s only been two seasons of success. Two offseasons ago, we had the 2nd overall pick and our leading scorer was Czerkawski. Ask all the Habs fans what they think of him now! The team has come a long way since then, in a very short period of time.

  5. Rico71 says:

    Ya$hin’s $alary…

    If they did not have to pay the ridiculous amount of money they give to Ya$hin, they’d have the free cash to go out and get a scorer.

    He’s paid double the amount he’s worth. That was by far the most ridiculous contract given to a player…apart from the Ranger$ players (Holik & Kasparaitus).

    Ya$hin is not the cornerstone player. Peca is by far a better player overall. No wonder Ya$hin was on the 4th line for a while last year. *lol* 10 million player on the 4th…*lol*

  6. MantaRay says:

    8 wins away from 2nd All-time?? in only two seasons? Enough said.

    Yashin is a huge quesition mark and shoud rebate some of his salary.

  7. simplywouldntdie says:

    Damn it. Milbury has to be the worst gm in all of hockey. He’s made the worst trades possible (save two maybe three) and refuses to stick with players/staff. Granted he’s had a tough time what with all the ownership problems, but that was a while ago (but still, some of those deals were just worthless) I have come to the conclusion that it seems many of you have. The Isles would be far better off without him. That said I’m a fan of Laviolette. I still am really upset that he didn’t use Claude Lapointe more, but he has done great things with the team. From what I’ve seen of him I really like his approach to each game, to take it one game at a time, one period at a time. However, it all boils down to who the players respond to, and it appears that he’s been able to get a lot out of him. Then where does the blame lay for the Isles lackluster performance in this years playoffs? I believe that Laviolette has it in him to get further in the playoffs than he did, because of the performance he brought forth from the team in the series against Toronto. I think now the only thing the Isles need is to get rid of Milbury and to find a veteran who can lead the team come playoff time.

  8. Kashin says:

    One thing Laviolette promised to do is develop his talent. Trent hunter and others can now come in not rushed. Under most other coaches Dipietro would be a three year veteran now.

  9. nskerr says:

    I totally agree. People seem to forget the LEAN years, or decade I should say. The last Isles playoff appearance before Laviolette was the Rangers sweeping us on the way to the cup.

    There are things I would like to see the Isles and Laviolette do. They must get tougher. Too many times the Isles were pushed around, even with Asham, Goddard and Cairns. Laviolette obviously doesn’t like the fighting but sometimes the Isles are a better physical team than their opponent and they should play that way.

    The Isles definitely need to have more faith in some of their players. Watching LaPointe go to Philly and be successful only showed that if you put some of these 4th line players out there with some talent, they can succeed.

    The Isles need to get deeper. They need another solid d-man and at least one sniper to play with Yashin. They then can bring Hunter, Papineau and Weinhandl along. These three look to be the most promising of the minor leaguers. Laviolette needs to find the balance between letting these guys learn at the NHL level and not bench them if they make a mistake without making them feel the pressure of having to carry the team like he did with Weinhandl at certain points.

    Finally he will have to manage the goalie situation very carefully. It is obvious that DiPietro is the future, but Snow was very solid last year. If they bench Snow in favor of the kid, you lose the ability to have two solid goalies. Laviolette needs to play both guys for the first half of the year to get a good feel for who is playing better and then ride the hot goalie down the stretch into the playoffs.

    Milbury needs to acuire a few players and give Laviolette 1 more year. If Laviolette can’t get through the first round, than I think most Islander fans would say a change is needed. But to have a coach who has been with the team only two years, and who is second in wins on the Isles get dismissed considering where this team has come from would not only be unfair, but a waste of money paying the coach to not work.

  10. cecilturtle says:

    Sorry… I’m going back into my shell now.

  11. JerryL17 says:

    Hey…You are a real Islander fan man. You hit all the nails on the head. It is refreshing to hear the truth rather than the tears of the clowns. Still think we have to wait one more year until one for the thumb. Go Isles! JerryL17

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