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NHL notes: Paul Holmgren hasn't 'even thought about' firing Peter Laviolette

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren gave his head coach Peter Laviolette a vote of confidence on...

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren gave his head coach Peter Laviolette a vote of confidence on Thursday. (REUTERS)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:50 AM ET

Despite guiding the Philadelphia Flyers to an underwhelming 12-15-1 record, Peter Laviolette’s job appears safe, for now.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren gave his head coach a vote of confidence Thursday and told reporters that he hasn’t “even thought about” firing Laviolette.

“The coaches have done a good job,” Holmgren said. “Right now, our team needs to play better. We’re making a lot of mistakes. A lot from our lack of competitiveness. Our team needs to compete better. I don't like the way we're playing right now, but I don’t necessarily blame that on the coach.”

If anything, Holmgren blamed the players.

“They’re the ones on the ice,” he said. “I don’t think we can let the players off the hook here.”

The Flyers sat in 11th place in the Eastern Conference heading into Thursday night’s action and had played the most games in the NHL with 28.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us with the part of the schedule we’ve already played and the points we’ve missed out on attaining,” Holmgren said of the team’s playoff prospects. "That’s a difficult task. It’s still something that could be done.”

WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS

Things went from bad to worse for the Florida Panthers.

Kris Versteeg, who had already missed 17 of 27 games, will have season-ending knee surgery, the team announced Thursday. Versteeg was hurt Tuesday on a hit by Tampa Bay's Radko Guda.

The winger’s injury is the latest to hit the Panthers in a season chock-full of them. Florida has already lost centre Stephen Weiss for the season with an injury and goaltender Jose Theodore is unlikely to return after tearins his groin. In addition, Ed Jovanovski, Dmitry Kulikov, Scottie Upshall and Mike Weaver are all on injured reserve.

Versteeg, 26, has two goals and two assists in the 10 games he’s played this season. He was shelved two separate times this season with groin and chest injuries.

He was Florida’s third-leading scorer last year, with 23 goals and 32 assists in 71 games.

LECAVALIER ON SHELF

The Tampa Bay Lightning will be without their captain for the foreseeable future.

Vincent Lecavalier was placed on injured reserve and will be out indefinitely with a lower-body injury, the team announced Thursday.

Lecavalier has seven goals and 15 assists in 26 games for Tampa Bay this season. In January, the 32-year-old played his 1,000th game with the Lightning, the only squad he has played for.

As a result of the injury, Tampa Bay called up forward Tyler Johnson from the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.

DOUBLE-UP HOWARD?

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard appears set for a hefty pay raise.

The Red Wings are inching closer to signing Howard to a long-term contract extension, according to MLive.com. Howard’s salary would balloon from $2.25 million to around $5 million. It’s expected to be at least a six-year deal.

Howard, 29, became the team’s full-time starter in 2009-10 and has a career 120-61-23 record with a 2.42 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.

BRIEFLY

The Boston Bruins signed forward Anthony Camara to an entry-level contract. Camara has 36 goals and 24 assists in 48 games with the OHL’s Barrie Colts this season ... Buffalo Sabres defenceman Alexander Sulzer is out for the season after having surgery to repair the ACL in his right knee ... Tuomo Ruutu skated with the Carolina Hurricanes for the first time this season as he recovers from hip surgery ... The Chicago Blackhawks assigned forward Rostislav Olesz to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs ... The Washington Capitals acquired defenceman Chay Genoway from the Minnesota Wild for a conditional seventh-round pick. The Caps also picked up Nicolas Deschamps from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Kevin Marshall ... The Phoenix Coyotes assigned forward Nick Johnson to the AHL’s Portland Pirates ... The St. Louis Blues activated Alex Steen from injured reserve and assigned forward Andrew Murray to the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen ... Vancouver Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa returned to the lineup Thursday. The team also called up right winger Steve Pinizzotto from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.


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