Before I get into the Caps hiring their 19th coach in franchise history, I would like to say THANK GOD it wasn’t Mike Babcock, the fact that he was even on their radar was scary, but we dodged that bullet.
The Washington Capitals have a new head coach and his name is Peter Laviolette. Lavi will be the seventh coach in the Alex Ovechkin Era in the last 15 seasons.
When Capitals GM Brian MacLellan fired Todd Reirden on August 23rd we knew a big change was coming and the Caps wouldn’t be taking a flyer on a new young coach. MacLellan stated they wanted a veteran head coach that won’t take any shit and that will push this team to reach their true potential.
Peter Laviolette fits that description to a T. Laviolette has coached a total of 1,210 games in the NHL during his 18 year coaching career on multiple clubs that consist of the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, and Nashville Predators. In this time Lavi culminated a record of 637-425-25 (Ties)-123(overtime/shootout). Most fair-weather NHL fans may not know this but Lavi also played 12 NHL games as a player, all for the New York Rangers in 88-89.
The Caps aren’t just getting a fiery veteran coach, but they are also getting a former Stanley Cup Champion Coach when he took the Hurricanes to their franchise first Cup back in 06. Not only did he win a Cup, but he also is only the fourth coach in NHL history to lead three different teams to a Stanley Cup Final (Flyers 09-10) and Predators (16-17).
Back in January which seems like decades ago at this point the Nashville Predators fired Laviolette after the team was about to miss the playoffs. The Capitals received permission from the Preds to interview him even though he still had one year left on his contract with Nashville.
Laviolette wasn’t the only choice during this coaching search. The Capitals were also interested in Mike Babcock as I previously mentioned, but also Gerard Gallant which was my top choice in my opinion. Given the Caps decision put your money on Gallant being the Seattle Kraken first coach.
I have some faith in Laviolette going forward he has taken over teams before and turned them around, but for the Caps case they just need that extra push to get them to that next caliber of play which I think he can add to the upcoming season. Laviolette is an extremely passionate NHL coach and I think it’s just what the Caps need to help Ovi and Backstrom who are at the tail-end of their careers to make a couple more Stanley Cup runs.
Welcome Peter now lets get us back to the big dance!