Survey says, Flyers doing better than we thought

Satisfaction with Peter Laviolette rose with the Flyers' fortunes.
Satisfaction with Peter Laviolette rose with the Flyers' fortunes.
Posted: September 17, 2010

It is amazing what a surprise run to the Stanley Cup finals can do for the public perception of a franchise - and the people running it.

Last March, just 2 months after floundering at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and far from having a playoff spot locked up, 46 percent of fans who said the Flyers were their favorite team said their biggest concern resided in management and coaching, according to a survey conducted by Temple's Sport Industry Research Center for the Daily News' Philly Fan Project.

Two months after falling two wins short of Philadelphia's first Stanley Cup since 1975, that number shrunk to just 6 percent in a new DN/SIRC survey conducted in late August.

Similarly, those who said they were "very satisfied" with the job coach Peter Laviolette has done went from 29.6 percent to 75.3 percent. Just 1.1 percent said they are "neutral" and none said they were "dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied" as Laviolette enters his first full season with the Flyers.

The rating of general manager Paul Holmgren went from a combined 60.5 percent as "very satisfied" and "satisfied" to 82.1 percent. Another 6.9 percent are still dissatisfied, but no one was "very dissatisfied" compared to 3.1 percent in the initial survey.

Captain Mike Richards still has some mixed reviews from Flyers fans, despite a valiant stretch of postseason performances. In the first survey, 28.5 percent were either "neutral," "dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied" with Richards. Last month, that number shrunk to 6.9 percent.

That same number (6.9 percent) are "neutral," "dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied" with Flyers chairman Ed Snider, despite that he approved $42.25 million in offseason spending. Overall, Snider's numbers are a healthy combined 75.2 percent of "very satisfied" or "satisfied."

Still, the fans made it clear they are most concerned about the Flyers' goaltending. Seventy-five percent pegged that spot as the most worrisome. Even with a 16-5-2 record in the regular season and 8-3 record in the playoffs, 48 percent said they'll take a "wait and see" approach with Michael Leighton.

With two solid goaltenders in Johan Backlund and Sergei Bobrovsky - not to mention backup Brian Boucher - waiting in the wings, fans may not be all that far off from finding the next long-term backstop who has been missing since Ron Hextall.

About the survey

The results reflect the responses of 1,576 subscribers to the Philly.com daily sports newsletter in the eight-county region of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania and South Jersey suburbs. Surveys were distributed online to those who lived within the target area and had signed up for the newsletter. Results are representative of the entire group of subscribers within 3 percent plus or minus.

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