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