Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette will be an assistant for Team USA in the upcoming 2014 Olympics, which is cool. He’s working underneath Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, which is interesting to say the least.
I don’t need to tell you there’s history there. The Flyers and Penguins have a rivalry so bitter, it nearly extended into the benches at one point. The only thing that might’ve been holding Laviolette back from physically attacking Bylsma during a regular season game in April of 2012 was Craig Berube ironically enough, and afterwards Lavvy went on to describe the Pittsburgh coach as “gutless.”
So you can understand how a working relationship between the two could be a little... tense -- but then I suppose they probably wouldn’t be working together in the first place if that were the case. Both Laviolette and Bylsma discussed the dynamic, and not surprisingly are downplaying any resentment or hostility that might linger between them.
Per Frank Seravalli’s story in the Daily News:
"Immediately in June, when I found out about this position and this team, I went to Peter," Bylsma said. "We've already done [and handled the rivalry issue]. We've spent more time together and talking than this team has. We're not black-and-gold or orange-and-black here. That was immediate right away."
"Business is business in Philadelphia. And Penguins and Flyers is always fun," Laviolette said. "There's been lots of good conversations. This is not about somebody's ego or what's in it for me. I'm here for my country. I will do anything that Dan asks of me to try and help my country do something we haven't done since 1980."
I guess the only question is are they just pulling together over a common cause, or is there still a fire burning there? That whole feud, especially last year, was tcrazy intense. For all of the unhinged coaching moments we’ve witnessed in pro sports, that is still one of the angriest.
Both guys sound excited to go for gold this February though, which is great because Olympic hockey is awesome and the U.S. hasn’t stood at the top of the podium since 1980. Good read here from Seravalli that should get you pumped up for the winter games, and hockey in general. Flyers’ camp is right around the corner ya know, opening on September 12.
Previously: Laviolette Goes Ballistic On Penguins Bench