As first reported by Elliotte Friedman and confirmed by (friend of the site) Samantha Pell, the Caps have hired Peter Laviolette as head coach:
Hearing Peter Laviolette will be the next head coach in WASH— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 15, 2020
Pell later confirmed that Laviolette’s deal will be for 3 years, and Pierre LeBrun said that the deal will be for “north of $4 million per year.”
This will be Laviolette’s fifth head coaching job, as he was the head coach of the Nashville Predators from 2014-2020, the Philadelphia Flyers from 2009-14, the Carolina Hurricanes from 2003-2009, and the New York Islanders from 2001-2003.
Laviolette has won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2005-06, and made two other appearances in the Stanley Cup with the Flyers in 2009-10 and the Predators in 2016-17.
Alex Ervin of Japers Rink previewed Laviolette as a potential head coaching candidate a few days ago, noting that he might bring discipline to the Caps, but there’s been some mild controversy at his prior stops:
Peter Laviolette has the potential to bring a lot of discipline and accountability to a Capitals team that sorely needs it. However, he also seems to rub some players and management the wrong way.
Here’s what former Hurricanes trainer Pete Friesen had to say about Laviolette in a 2017 profile in The Tennessean:
“A lot of coaches are good tacticians, but Peter actually gets players to believe in a system. He can outline a whole freaking process and execute it, step by step. I’ve been a trainer for 37 years and he’s the best coach I’ve ever worked with. And I don’t just mean coach, I mean human being. In my mind, he’s another John Wooden.”
On the flip side, this is what then-owner of the Hurricanes Peter Karmanos Jr. said shortly after firing Laviolette:
“I didn’t like our coach. His private persona and his public persona were two different things.”
As noted by Pell, Laviolette seems to fit the description of what the Caps were looking for:
Laviolette seems to fit with what the Capitals need. When Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan described what the organization wanted in its next head coach on the day of Reirden’s firing, the word he emphasized was “experience.” The Capitals needed a veteran coach who could get immediate results from a veteran group.
“We need an experienced coach,” MacLellan said. “We have an experienced group. We’re going to try and find the best guy we can; experience will be a factor. And somebody that can hold people accountable.”
From the team’s press release on the hiring:
The Washington Capitals have named Peter Laviolette the team’s head coach, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
“Peter is a successful NHL head coach who has won a Stanley Cup and brings a wealth of experience to our team,” said MacLellan. “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. In addition, he is a high-character individual who is highly respected for his coaching pedigree, all of which make him the ideal person to lead our team to compete for the Stanley Cup.”
“I’m thankful and excited for the opportunity to lead this hockey club,” said Laviolette. “This is a winning organization with high expectations. I look forward to coaching this tremendous group of players and bringing my experience and vision to the team.”