Photo: The Athletic
The Nashville Predators announced on Monday evening that they have fired head coach Peter Laviolette and assistant coach Kevin McCarthy. They have yet to announce who will take over behind the bench and said that the head coach for Tuesday’s game against the Boston Bruins is “to be announced.”
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) January 6, 2020
The Predators’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday dropped them four points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. They have lost four of their last five games (1-3-1) coming out of the NHL holiday break.
The Predators made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in all of Laviolette’s five full seasons there, including their lone trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 when they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. They won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2018 and then fell to the Winnipeg Jets in Game 7 of Round 2, their third home loss of the series.
The next coach of the Predators will be the sixth to work under David Poile in his 37 years as an NHL general manager with NSH/WSH.
— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) January 7, 2020
After trading defenseman P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils and signing center Matt Duchene in free agency, the Predators rank sixth in the NHL with an average of 3.44 goals-per-game but 24th with an average of 3.27 goals-against per game. A year after their power play was last in the league, the Predators are 24th with a 16.8% efficiency this season. Their 74% penalty-killing rate is 29th in the league, ahead of only the Detroit Red Wings (73.6%) and Winnipeg Jets (71.6%).
A few days ago, GM David Poille said that Laviolette’s job was safe.
Laviolette is now the sixth NHL head coach to leave their team this season after the Toronto Maple Leafs fired Mike Babcock on November 20, Bill Peters resigned as Calgary Flames head coach on November 26, the New Jersey Devils fired John Hynes on December 3, the Dallas Stars fired Jim Montgomery on December 10, and the San Jose Sharks fired Peter DeBoer on December 16.
Laviolette went 451-248-60 in five-plus seasons with the Predators and 637-425-123 in 18 seasons as an NHL coach with the Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, and New York Islanders. He led the Predators to the Central Division title in each of the previous two seasons, the Hurricanes to the franchise’s lone Stanley Cup in 2016, and the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010 when they fell in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks.
He was their second head coach in franchise history after Barry Trotz coached his first 15 NHL seasons in Nashville.
From The Predators
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/GM David Poile announced Monday that the team has relieved Head Coach Peter Laviolette and Associate Coach Kevin McCarthy of their coaching responsibilities.
“Under the leadership of Peter and Kevin, our organization reached unprecedented heights – from our franchise-altering run to the Stanley Cup Final to a Presidents’ Trophy and our first two Central Division titles,” Poile said. “Their passion for the game, ability to motivate a team and drive to be the best makes this a difficult decision. On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Peter and Kevin for all their contributions to the Nashville Predators over the past five-and-a-half seasons.”
“On and off the ice, the Laviolette and McCarthy families have left an indelible mark on the entire Smashville community,” Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said. “While Peter and Kevin worked to make our team on the ice one of the elite, their wives, Kristen and Rhonda, spearheaded countless charitable endeavors to Nashville that made a lasting impact, changed lives, and for which we owe them a debt of gratitude.”
Laviolette and McCarthy led the Predators to 248 wins from the start of the 2014-15 season to the present date, the sixth-most in the NHL over that span. In 2014-15, the Predators improved by nine wins and 16 points in the standings, with Laviolette and his staff representing the team at the All-Star Game after leading the League in point percentage at the season’s midpoint (.725, 27-9-4 record). He was also a finalist for the 2015 Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach. In the spring of 2017, the Laviolette-led Predators became the third club seeded lowest in its conference to advance to the Stanley Cup Final since the League adopted the conference-based playoff format in 1994. The club followed that up with the best record in franchise history (53-18-11, 117 points), a Presidents’ Trophy and a Central Division title in 2017-18, then made it two Central Division crowns in a row a season ago.
By Harrison Brown