Vigneault Announces Roles for Flyers Assistant Coaches
The Flyers added to their bench on Monday with the hiring of former head coaches Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo as assistants on Alain Vigneault’s staff. In one fell swoop, the Flyers went from having a staff with no NHL head coaching experience behind the bench with their last major coaching hire in Dave Hakstol to over 2,500 games of NHL head coaching experience behind the bench.
Vigneault held a conference call on Wednesday providing more insight into the hirings, including the roles each coach will have. Experience was obviously a key in Chuck Fletcher’s decision to hire Vigneault and the decision to hire Therrien and Yeo.
“Both Michel and Mike bring a tremendous amount of experience that I will benefit from, the players are going to benefit from,” Vigneault said. “This is about giving our players coaching. This is about giving our players direction. Both guys, they’ve been head coaches before. Nobody understands more of what’s needed from an assistant than a head coach.”
Vigneault is entering the Flyers as an outsider, in a position where he needs to guide the team back to success. With two former head coaches on the market, Vigneault wanted to assemble the best staff possible.
“I’ve always felt the best way to do my job is the best possible people surrounding me, helping me and the organization,” Vigneault said. “Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo were both available. I’ve known Michel a long time. I know the type of hockey person he is. I know that the type of person he is. I know what he can bring. I’ve known Mike Yeo through coaching. Chuck Fletcher has a real good relationship with him, so I felt real strongly about what he can bring to our coaching group.”
Vigneault said that Therrien will coach the forwards and the power play, Yeo will handle penalty kill and defensemen and Ian Laperriere, the only returning assistant coach, will handle pre-scouting. In that role, Laperriere will not be behind the bench. Vigneault was adamant that this decision was not a reflection of his previous role with the team -- running the penalty kill.
“It’s not about that at all. This is about me bringing in people that bring different characteristics, different qualities to the Flyers,” Vigneault said. “I’ve got a lot of faith in Ian Laperriere. I had a good talk with him. I know what he can bring to the Flyers. He’s a true Flyer. He wants to be here. He wants to help the team in any way he can.”
The coaching decision was going to be one of the biggest, but not the only move that dictated where the Flyers go next season. With a lot of changes already coming in such a short time with the coaching staff, it wouldn’t be surprising if more were on the way.
It remains to be seen if this group of coaches is successful, but it’s clear that this is a collaborative effort. Vigneault noted that he and Fletcher both had a hand in the selection process. Clearly, Fletcher is working toward a greater goal that goes far beyond the coaching staff.
“I think right now it’s definitely beneficial for the Flyers, for me and for the players,” Vigneault said. “We do have a lot of head coaching experience but two former head coaches that want to be assistants and understand that role. Because of their experience, I think that they will be able to analyze different situations, different body language from players, from staff, from members and be able to make the right assessment and take the right steps that will be beneficial to us as a team.
“At the end of the day, we are all in this for the same thing and that’s to win. I believe that Chuck and I have put a solid staff together that will permit us to do this.”
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.