Capitals’ Head Coach Peter Laviolette on AHL Call-Ups: “We Put Them In Situations Because We’ve Had To And They Played Really Well”

Screencap: @Capitals

On Thursday, Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette spoke to the media following today’s practice. He discussed passing Dick Irvin for the 10th-most wins by a head coach and how pleased he is with the call-ups from the AHL throughout the season.

The Capitals’ 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators at Capital One Arena Wednesday night marked a milestone for Laviolette, who passed Irvin (691) for the 10th-most wins by a head coach in NHL history.

“Right now, I’m working with a great organization, great coaches, great staff, incredible players [and] with that we’ve been able to win some games,” he said on moving into the top ten, adding, “For me, it’s just an exciting opportunity to be here and be a part of it.”

At the beginning of the season, league previews and predictions often underestimated Washington in such a tough Metropolitan division. After 32 games, the Capitals are currently 19-6-7 with 45 points, placing them atop the Metro division and second in the NHL.

“I always think it’s about the ride and the journey and the coming together and the building of something that prepares you for the playoffs and prepares you for success…we put more on what we’re trying to do in the room and what we’re trying to build—the identity and the system, and the belief inside the room. All those things factor more than somebody’s prediction I think at the beginning of the year.”

“We’ve gotten, as you know, a lot of mileage out of our minor league team. [Hershey Bears head coach] Scott Allen has done an unbelievable job down there preparing the players and getting them ready,” Laviolette said on AHL players being recalled due to COVID-19 issues within the Capitals organization.

He also said, “These guys now have come up here—we put them in situations because we’ve had to and they played really well…I think just realizing where we’re at and understanding that we’re going to need to use everybody to get by…guys have done a really good job.”

The Capitals recalled forward prospects through the first two months of the season, as the team’s defensive corps was solid in their play and relatively injury-free. But earlier this week, Alex Alexeyev and Lucas Johansen got their much-anticipated calls from Ballston as the virus struck the Capitals blueline. Alexeyev would ultimately make his NHL debut Wednesday night against Nashville, becoming the tenth rookie to play for Washington this season.

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter who earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Screenwriting from Regent University. Della comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for hockey in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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5 Responses to Capitals’ Head Coach Peter Laviolette on AHL Call-Ups: “We Put Them In Situations Because We’ve Had To And They Played Really Well”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I thought Lucas J kind of fell out of favor with the Caps…

    Impressed with Protas..

  2. novafyre says:

    Lavi says that the prospects were played because he had to. And they have played well. So what happens when the vets come back?

    Perhaps we saw the answer last night. Ovi went back to his office and had 4 sog, none of which scored. We were 0 for 7 on the powerplay. In both cases, it was back to business as usual and it did not work. The Ovi who has wowed the hockey world so far this season was one who moved around, got assists, and showed looks that the opposition didn’t expect. And the prospects provided their own new looks and scored goals as a result.

    If Ovi is going to go back to his office then it must be as a trap, drawing the flies to him, freeing up his teammates. But if his sacrifice is going to work, the others have to be willing to shoot, to take chances. If he’s going to score, he must be mobile and daring.

    I feel that the Caps have been so successful this season because of the rookies, not in spite of them. Our successes have been built on not playing “business as usual.” If the Caps are going to continue winning, they need to consider this as the vets return.

    • Anonymous says:

      Couldn’t agree more!

    • DC Scappeli says:

      Forsythe has to go!!!! Too much standing around on the PP, PK units are pressuring Carlson and Nicky or Kuzy on the half wall, daring someone other than Ovi to score. Which means, Nicky or Kuzy will have to make the perfect pass somewhere or get it to Oshie in the high slot.

      • Marky says:

        You are right on about the lack of shots from Carlson and a few others. I, against very popular opinion don’t think it’s a coaches fault except they should mix up the formations a little more often. I think the others guys should just take more shots themselves then teams will back off Ovi a little , giving him more room for his shot.

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