"I'm grateful to [Flyers GM] Paul [Holmgren] and grateful for the opportunity because there's not a lot of jobs," Laviolette said at the Stanley Cup Finals media day at the United Center on Thursday. "There's only 30 of them [and there] are so many coaches out there. When you're out, you wonder if you'll ever get back in. When you do get back in, you certainly are appreciative of the opportunity."
Laviolette was hired on Dec. 4 to replace John Stevens, a year and day after he was dismissed from the Carolina Hurricanes -- a team he lead to the 2006 Stanley Cup title.
His boss replaced a Flyers legend in Bobby Clark, who led Philly to its two Stanley Cup titles as captain before serving as general manger. Just as Laviolette doubted he'd ever coach again, Holmgren said he doesn't know when hockey will ever see a team make the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, come back from 3-0 down and persevere through a rash of injuries to its core to make the finals.
"This has been a lot of fun here this last 45 days or whatever," Holmgren said. "It's sort of magical [in] the way, something that I find hard to believe will ever happen again."
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Boucher Set to Return
Flyers goalie Brian Boucher could be back in uniform as soon as Game 1.
"Medically, I'm cleared to play," Boucher said. "It will become a coach's decision if I will be in uniform on Saturday."
Boucher sprained both knees, his left severely, in Game 5 of the second-round series against the Boston Bruins on May 10. Michael Leighton has gone 6-1 as a starter since and has been backed up by Johan Backlund since Boucher went down.
"I'm just excited to get back on the ice," Boucher said. "When you are hurt and not training with the team, you are not really part of things. I'm just happy to be back with the guys."
Boucher would join Simon Gagne (broken toe), Jeff Carter (broken foot), Leighton (ankle sprain) and Ian Laperriere (brain contusion) as Flyers who have battled back from injury this postseason.
The Stanley Cup media day has the feel of a much scaled-down version of the Super Bowl's.
None of the reporters asked questions with puppets and the inquiries largely stuck to hockey, which can lead to some repetition as reporters rotate through the room.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews heard one in particular.
"The one about Mike Richards," said Toews, who enters the Finals with a team-best 13-game point streak. "I heard that one about 15 times. I got good answering it."
Toews befriended Flyers captain Mike Richards as both were part of Team Canada at the Vancouver Olympic Games and comparisons between the two are made frequently.