John Stevens Named Coach of the Year by The Hockey News

Flyers Coach John StevensFlyers’ coach John Stevens was named the 2008 NHL Coach of the Year by The Hockey News.  Recognizing Stevens for what they called an underrated turnaround by the Flyers, THN pointed out that the Flyers improved from last in the NHL in 2006-07 to sixth in their conference in 2007-08 with a 39-point improvement.  “The only coach who came close to matching that feat was Washington’s Bruce Boudreau (plus-24)”, The Hockey News said.  “That the Flyers toppled the Capitals in the first round of the playoffs, then upset the no. 1-seeded Canadiens in Round 2, carried significant weight in our decision.”

This is a well-deserved honor for Coach Stevens.  He works well with young players, displaying a calm demeanor behind the bench even in upsetting situations and shows patience as well.  Now, another real test for Stevens will be this coming season, when the Flyers will show whether they are really as good as they were in the playoffs or whether they were playing over their heads.  With a couple of new defensemen (Vaananen and Eminger), younger players needing to step up (Downie, Giroux, Parent), no big name free agent additions, and higher expectations based on last year’s playoffs, Stevens will have an opportunity to show how good of a choice this really was.

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