Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette told the media at his introductory press conference that “it’s a privilege to be the head coach of this hockey team” and that Tuesday is a “pretty special day for me and my family” after being hired by the organization. He thanked owner Ted Leonsis, team president Dick Patrick, and general manager Brain MacLellan for the opportunity and said that he “couldn’t be happier to be here.” Laviolette said that he has a lot of memories coming into Washington and says that the fans are always enthusiastic.
MacLellan told the press that, “We feel fortunate to hire someone of Peter’s caliber” and said it was a “good fit for both.” As an experienced coach with a broad skillset, Laviolette is very honest with his players. “He’s been challenged a number of times [and] he’s been able to adapt to different groups,” said MacLellan.
“Peter has a track record of establishing a culture, one to get guys playing the right way,” said MacLellan, noting that’s a large part of why he was hired.
Laviolette said, “I think it’s a great fit,” saying he embraced the fresh opportunity to come to an organization that will do anything to win. “There were so many things that checked all of our boxes for our move,” he said.
Laviolette has coached three other Metropolitan Division teams, including the New York Islanders, the Carolina Hurricanes — where he won the Stanley Cup in 2006, and the Philadelphia Flyers. Laviolette was most recently the head coach of the Nashville Predators.
“Every stop for me has been different,” he said, noting that he likes to come in with an open mind and focus on building the team’s identity on the ice. He said the Capitals have a “terrific cast of talent” and he is “excited to get in there and build something special.”
“This is a team that’s been successful,” said Laviolette, and he’s “excited to go in and be a part of this.” He noted that it will be important to focus on having the team mesh internally and on how the players care for each other off the ice. “I do believe in honesty and directness,” he said, stressing his desire to instill a culture of motivation and accountability.
On coaching Ovechkin, Laviolette said that while he has not spoken to the team captain yet, “I’m really excited” to develop a relationship. “There was a lot of good things he did” in the playoffs, he said, adding, “You want your captain to lead the way … and he was doing that.”
Laviolette has not had a chance to think too much about his coaching staff, saying while there are great coaches in the Capitals system, he wants to take some time to look both inside and outside the organization to put together the best possible staff.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) September 15, 2020
By Harrison Brown