No coach in the league makes better use of the 30-second timeout than the Flyers' Peter Laviolette, who used his to great effect in the first period of each of Philadelphia's first three playoff games. He understands the mental makeup of his team, which is a mix of savvy veterans, including Danny Bri√®re, Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr, and young players who don't have a lot of postseason experience, such as Sean Couturier. Laviolette is sensible with his timeouts, and his veterans trust his judgment—and their trust resonates with the rest of the team. Bri√®re told me that Laviolette almost always says exactly the right thing during a timeout, whether he is being stern or soothing. Witness the wake-up call the coach delivered after the Flyers fell behind Pittsburgh 2--0 in the first period of Game 1. His club outscored the Penguins 4--1 the rest of the way in an overtime win. In Game 2, Laviolette again took a break with his team facing a 2--0 first-period deficit. Philly went on to win 8--5. During the Flyers' 8--4 victory on Sunday, Laviolette went for strategy, using a first-period break to prepare his players for a two-man advantage that resulted in a Bri√®re goal that put the Flyers up 2--1. Just as before, Philadelphia never looked back.
This is an article from the April 23, 2012 issue