Peter Laviolette allegedly lost the locker room, then went the way of Ken Hitchcock

Peter Laviolette allegedly lost the locker room, then went the way of Ken Hitchcock

Too much jam?

Boy if this isn't beginning to sound like Ken Hitchcock all over again. Hitch, you may remember, was fired just eight games into the 2006-07 season, after he had reportedly lost his locker room, particularly young building blocks like Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.

Bob Clarke also resigned/was removed that day as general manager. Paul Holmgren, who replaced him, did manage to survive Monday.

Following this morning's press conference, Ed Snider admitted that this wasn't all Laviolette's fault, and even frankly stated he would have fired the players instead of the coach if only that were possible. Quote:

“That’s not talking about Peter. That’s talking about our players, and it carried right on over to the first three games of the season. It’s not simply the three games you saw. There’s more to it than that. Basically, there are a lot of things I know that are private.

...

So, someone asked Snider, you fire the coach because you can’t get rid of the players?

“Right,” Snider replied. “You show me a way to do that, we’ll be glad to do that instead.”

Sound familiar? Here's an excerpt from the AP's Hitchcock/Clarke post-mortem back in '06:

Snider acknowledged the Flyers had tuned out Hitchcock and his demanding style.

"I knew what went on and I feel that's an unfair statement," Hitchcock said.

As for what happened with Laviolette, this back-and-forth ESPN chat from Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside paints a familiar picture:

Pierre LeBrun: I do know Berube is beloved by the players and I think that's where it has to start: re-establishing a trusting relationship between the players and the coach. A source told me Monday morning that Laviolette and the players were no longer on the same page, and that's not shocking when you saw how they played in the opening three games. The players seemed to be waiting for the coach to be fired. It makes you wonder why the Flyers didn't make this change last spring, after the Flyers missed the playoffs.

...

I believe one factor in Laviolette’s firing was an organizational concern that some young players on the team -- namely Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn -- were not developing properly, or as rapidly as anticipated. The Flyers traded away Carter and Richards because they truly believed Couturier and Schenn were capable of supporting star center Giroux as the team redeveloped its core. It just hasn't worked out that way so far.

The coach is out in less than 10 games, because he lost the locker room, particularly the young kids who aren't developing fast enough. For what it's worth, Schenn is 22 and Couturier 20.

Ed Snider doesn't feel like the Flyers need a "fresh perspective," but history only seems to repeat itself with this franchise. With any luck,  2013-14 won't turn out like 2006-07, the worst season in franchise history.

That campaign led them to lose a coin flip to the Chicago Blackhawks for the rights to the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft -- Patrick Kane. The consolation prize, James van Riemsdyk, didn't develop the way the Flyers wanted either. Neither did the future Vezina goaltender they gave up on after a promising rookie season.

Flyers fans may be tired of rehashing the past, but it's a part how this team got to where it is.

And here we are on a rainy Monday in Philadelphia.

La Salle pummeled by VCU, 90-52, snapping 5-game streak

usa-john-giannini-la-salle-baskebtall.jpg
USA Today Images

La Salle pummeled by VCU, 90-52, snapping 5-game streak

RICHMOND, Va. -- Justin Tillman had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead five VCU players in double figures in a 90-52 victory over La Salle on Sunday.

VCU held La Salle to 15 made field goals and forced 16 turnovers.

VCU went on a 19-0 first-half run -- with 11 points from JeQuan Lewis -- for a 38-14 lead and the Rams led 42-16 at halftime after shooting 51.5 percent. Lewis made 5 of 6 shots and had 13 of his 15 points in the first half.

Samir Doughty added 15 points for VCU (15-5, 5-2 Atlantic 10). Ahmed Hamdy-Mohamed had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Jordan Burgess scored 10. Tillman was 7 of 10 from the field as the Rams shot 56.5 percent.

Jordan Price and Saul Phiri each scored 11 points for La Salle (11-6, 5-2) and Pookie Powell added 10. It was a season-high for the freshman Phiri but the Explorers were just 15-of-53 shooting (28.3 percent).

The Sixers without Joel Embiid: Still just the Sixers

The Sixers without Joel Embiid: Still just the Sixers

Well, if anyone hoped the Sixers' performance at game's end against Portland on Friday night -- with Joel Embiid riding the bench, ruled out for the game's remainder with a left knee contusion -- would carry over to an entirely Embiid-less game again Saturdaynight... I guess you're not alone, 'coz I sorta did. Perhaps it shouldn't have been particularly surprising to see that the Sixers were still the same team last night in Atlanta they were the previous Saturday against the Wizards: good enough to hang against an above-average East team, but not nearly good enough to actually win. 

At least they kept this one closer longer. Normally, against the Hawks, once the single-digit lead in the first half balloons into the double-digit lead in the third quarter, it never deflates back, but this time we cut it down to seven a couple times -- just never hitting that one big shot that would've really made things interesting, ultimately losing 110-93. It doesn't help that Nik Stauskas is in the midst of one of his most refrigerated runs as a Sixer, going just 7-30 (3-16 from deep) over Philly's last five games, or that Dario Saric is similarly bricking shots near and wide, a remarkable 2 for 22 over his last couple contests. 

This, sadly, is a primary reason why the Sixers' playoff hopes, while fun to dream about, are still unlikely to be more than a flicker. Over the next few weeks, the Sixers have a trio of back-to-backs coming up, with the back-end games coming against Milwaukee, Sacramento and San Antonio -- none of which Philly, 2-12 without their star center, are probable to win sans JoJo. Even if they can take care of business with Embiid on the court, it'll be tough to make up the ground that the Sons of Sam need to while they have to drop one every three or four games as Joel sits. 

That's fine, though. This season's been super-fun, but we shouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves: Let's ensure Embiid's health, maybe get Ben Simmons out there too, secure a nice draft pick or two (though the plummeting Kings could be of significant help with that themselves), and focus on making next year even more of a thing. The future remains impossibly bright, even if the present is going to have to be borderline-unwatchable once or twice a week.