PHILADELPHIA – Recently fired Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Stevens had only positive things to say about his former team Monday when he spoke publicly for the first time since he was fired last week.
Stevens was let go by general manager Paul Holmgren and replaced by Peter Laviolette. The Flyers had lost six of their last seven games – the last two by shutout – when Holmgren decided a change was needed. Holmgren indicated he will offer Stevens another position in the organization but Stevens said he would like to keep his options open.
“Your emotions are disappointment, it’s more about letting people down,” Stevens said during a conference call. “You go through a process like this, the team not meeting expectations, you feel responsible. I feel extremely lucky to be part of this organization for so many years (drafted by the Flyers in 1984), to have worked for an organization totally committed to winning.”
Stevens took the Flyers from the worst record in 2006-07 to the Eastern Conference finals in 2007-08. If he has any regret, it’s that he wasn’t able to get the Flyers to the final step.
“Obviously my goal and dream was to win the Stanley Cup and that didn’t happen,” he said. “I think it will be important for me to pull back and review what went on here.”
Stevens is known for keeping his emotions on an even keel behind the bench. He finished his tenure in Philadelphia with a record of 120-109-34.
“I’m going to miss it here,” Stevens said. “My family (sons John and Nolan) has grown up here, the passion of the Philadelphia sports fans is unbelievable. The atmosphere at home games is something I will miss.”
Holmgren said the decision to fire Stevens was among the most difficult he’s made in his career. Stevens reiterated that he understood why the change was made.
“I think he’s doing what he feels in his heart he has to do to win,” Stevens said. “Peter Laviolette is a good man, a good coach. I respect Paul’s decision and I’m moving on. I have nothing but fondness and respect for Holmgren.”
Stevens declined to comment on the team’s performance leading up to his dismissal. As for the future, he said he would love to coach again in the NHL.
“Coaching is something that I love to do,” he said. “I would love to do it again.”