Washington Capitals hire Peter Laviolette as head coach

Sept. 15 (UPI) — The Washington Capitals on Tuesday named Peter Laviolette as their 19th head coach in franchise history.

“I’m thankful and excited for the opportunity to lead this hockey club,” Laviolette said in a news release. “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.”

Sources told ESPN, the Washington Post and The Athletic that Laviolette’s contract with the Capitals is for three years. Laviolette, 55, led the Nashville Predators to a 19-15-7 record through 41 games this season before he was fired in January.

The Capitals led the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference with a 41-20-8 record this season. The Capitals then posted a 1-2 record in three seeding games before they lost in five games to the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Washington fired coach Todd Reirden three days after the team was eliminated from the playoffs. Reirden had been with the team as an assistant before he was hired to replace Barry Trotz after the Capitals won the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. Reirden had an 89-46-16 record in two seasons as Capitals head coach.

Laviolette comes to Washington, D.C., with 18 years of NHL coaching experience. He coached the Islanders from 2001 to 2003, the Carolina Hurricanes from 2003 to 2008, the Philadelphia Flyers from 2009 to 2013 and the Predators from 2014 to 2020.

He led the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup title in 2006 and has a 75-68 record in the playoffs. Laviolette has a career regular-season record of 637-425-25-123.

Laviolette also led the Flyers to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final and the Predators to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. He has also coached Team USA three times at the World Championship and at the 2006 Torino Games.

“Peter is a successful NHL head coach who has won a Stanley Cup and brings a wealth of experience to our team,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said.

“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.”

The Capitals have won their division for five consecutive seasons and 10 of the last 13 years.

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