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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Loved this spin on the Flyers' goaltending situation from Phil Heron today on the Heron's Nest:

At the end, an interesting --- and debatable --- point. Phil claims that Peter Laviolette is the best coach in the city.


He has won a Stanley Cup. That thrusts him to the top of the argument. But Charlie Manuel won a World Series.

I still think Doug Collins, and the way he game-plans a basketball game, gets his players to buy into a system and sells his product to the public is a coaching genius. He doesn't have nearly the talent to work with that Laviolette does ... although, yes, he did once coach Michael Jordan without a ring to show for his effort.

What I like about Laviolette is the way he handles his goaltenders just like a basketball coach. In hoops, players come in, out, in, out and in again ... without the need for immediate emotional therapy. So, too, do hockey players, the goaltenders typically excluded.

But Laviolette changes his goaltenders with confidence. He did that in Carolina, where Cam Ward won 15 games in a Cup run. How about the 16th W? That went to Martin Gerber. Why? Laviolette liked the way he'd practiced the day before.

It took guts ... and it worked.

So Laviolette is in the best-in-town coaching discussion.

Just the same, my list: Collins, Manuel, Laviolette.

If I am forgetting anybody for this discussion, the name slips my mind.

BTW: Check out my column on and in the Daily Times Wednesday. It's about how it is becoming more plain by the shift that the Sabres do not have the depth to win the series. I know: They are the No. 7 seed. They are supposed to lose. Still, the talent gap was never as clear between the Flyers and Sabres as when Nikolay Zherdev came out of mothballs to play eight-plus minutes of some of the best hockey on the ice Monday.

Flyers in five.


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