Washington Capitals to name Peter Laviolette next head coach

Ruben Hill
September 15, 2020

The Washington Capitals have hired Peter Laviolette as their next head coach.

Laviolette replaces Todd Reirden, who was sacked last month after a second consecutive first-round exit in the playoffs.

The Massachusetts native most recently spent five-and-a-half seasons as the head coach of the Nashville Predators, but was sacked back in January.

Prior to that, he was the bench boss of the Philadelphia Flyers, where his fiery temper and his preference for intense play made him a fan-favourite, the Carolina Hurricanes - whom he coached to a Stanley Cup championship in 2005-06 - and New York Islanders, where his National Hockey League head coaching career began in 2001-02.

"We feel he is a great communicator who will motivate our players to play with passion, structure and discipline, while helping our young players reach their potential", read MacLellan's statemet in the news release. Laviolette led the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and 2017 Predators to the Stanley Cup Final. In Nashville, he succeeded Barry Trotz, who joined the Capitals in 2014 and led them to the title in 2018 before leaving in a contract dispute.

Hiring Laviolette, 55, puts a seasoned hand back at the controls days shy of Ovechkin's 35th birthday and with the team's core group trying to capture one more championship.

Laviolette is the taskmaster coach the Capitals haven't had since Dale Hunter in 2011-12.

The Predators reached the Stanley Cup final three seasons ago under Laviolette's guidance, before falling in the second round the following year and failing to win their first-round playoff series last season.

After firing Reirden, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said he wanted to hire an experienced coach to get more out of a veteran roster that includes left wing Alex Ovechkin, who turns 35 on September 17, center Nicklas Backstrom, who turns 33 on November 23, right wing T.J. Oshie, who turns 34 on December 23, and defenseman John Carlson, who turns 31 on January 10.

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan is excited about the "wealth of experience" Laviolette brings to the team.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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