Peter Laviolette was hired as coach of the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
“I’m thankful and excited for the opportunity to lead this hockey club,” Laviolette said. “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.”
Laviolette replaces Todd Reirden, who was fired Aug. 23 after the Capitals were eliminated by the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 4-0 loss in Game 5 on Aug. 20. It was the second straight season the Capitals lost in the first round of the playoffs after finishing first in the Metropolitan Division each 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 Sept. 17, center Nicklas Backstrom, who turns 33 on Nov. 23, right wing T.J. Oshie, who turns 34 on Dec. 23, and defenseman John Carlson, who turns 31 on Jan. 10.
Laviolette fits that description.
The 55-year-old has coached 18 seasons in the NHL with the New York Islanders (2001-2003) Carolina Hurricanes (2003-2008), Philadelphia Flyers (2009-2013) and Nashville Predators (2014-2020), going 637-425-123 with 25 ties and qualifying for the playoffs 11 times. Laviolette won the Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006 and reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2010 with Philadelphia before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games and in 2017 with Nashville, a six-game loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Laviolette, from Franklin, Massachusetts, has 637 NHL wins, which are second-most among U.S.-born coaches behind John Tortorella’s 655.
“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.”
Laviolette was fired after six seasons in Nashville on Jan. 6 and replaced by John Hynes after the Predators went 19-15-7 in their first 41 games this season.
Nashville was 248-143-60 in 451 regular-season games under Laviolette and won the Presidents’ Trophy for the best record in the NHL in 2017-18 when they were 53-18-11 with 117 points.
During the Ovechkin era, which began when the left wing entered the NHL in 2005, the Capitals have hired only one other coach with previous NHL experience. That was when they hired Barry Trotz, Laviolette’s predecessor in Nashville, in 2014.
Trotz coached four seasons in Washington and guided the Capitals to the Stanley Cup in 2018, but he resigned following that season when he was unable to agree to a new contract and was hired by the Islanders. Reirden, Trotz’s associate/assistant for four seasons, was promoted to replace him and coached the Capitals for two seasons.