PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Peter Laviolette led the Flyers within two wins of a Stanley Cup championship. Philadelphia is willing to give their coach a few more years to finish the job.
Laviolette and the Flyers agreed Wednesday to a two-year contract extension that will take him through the 2014-15 season.
Philadelphia has the third-most wins in the Eastern Conference (122), behind only Pittsburgh and Washington (127 each) since Laviolette was hired to take over for John Stevens in December 2009. The Flyers needed a shootout victory in the final game of the 2010 season to make the playoffs. Once in, though, they stormed through a surprising run to the Cup finals as a No. 7 seed.
Eventually, they lost in six games to Chicago.
While the roster remains a work in progress — Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren continues to reshape it with trades of one-time anchors like Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and James van Riemsdyk — the stand behind the players, where the coach roams, is more than solid. Holmgren has remained a staunch supporter of Laviolette, even as the team has been bounced the last two seasons in Round 2.
"I was really excited to come to a market like Philadelphia, and an organization like this with the history, the ownership, and working for Paul," Laviolette said. "I'm as excited today as I was back then about being able to move forward. There's a great group of players here and to come back and be able to continue to work here is where I want to be."
Laviolette has compiled a 122-73-26 record since taking over Stevens. In 2010, the Flyers defeated the Devils, Bruins and Canadiens to reach the Finals. And in that second-round win over Boston, they even overcame an 0-3 series deficit.
Regular seasons have not been a problem of late, either. The Flyers collected 47 wins in each of the last two years, but were knocked out in the East semifinals by Boston and New Jersey, respectively. They won only one game total in those two eliminations.
Regardless, Holmgren said Laviolette has done "a terrific job" to earn the extension.
"There was never a question that this wasn't going to get done," Holmgren said. "I am very happy to have it done. Peter is a tremendous coach in our league and he has done a tremendous job for the Flyers. I know that is going to continue.
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