Capitals’ Head Coach Peter Laviolette: “The Opportunity’s There, But We Need Guys To Answer That Opportunity As Well”

Screencap: Capitals

On Thursday, Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette spoke to the media following the team’s optional morning skate prior to their tilt against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre (7 PM, NBC Sports Washington locally; ESPN+ nationally). He provided a few updates on players and how guys who have not drawn into the lineup yet will have a big opportunity in tonight’s game.

On right-wing Connor Brown (lower-body), who was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday, Laviolette did not disclose any new details on the injury and said they are still waiting on “further things” from doctors. Laviolette reiterated that Brown would be out “long term,” adding, “He’s been a great addition to our team and certainly a guy [who] we’re going to miss in our lineup.”

The Capitals visit the Senators for the first of three meetings between the two teams this season. “They’re fast and they’re dynamic offensively,” he said about the opposition. “We’ll have to be pretty detailed with how we play the game.”

Laviolette called it a “new opportunity” for center Lars Eller, who will likely draw onto the first line tonight with captain Alex Ovechkin and right-wing Conor Sheary. He noted since players are out of the lineup that “guys have to step up.” “I thought he’s played well in his last two games—just noticed him more, competing on pucks…I’m sure he’s excited to get the opportunity to jump up into that role.”

With Brown and center Evgeny Kuznetsov (suspension) out of the lineup, young forwards Connor McMichael and Joe Snively will make their 2022-23 season debut against the Senators.

“New guys come into the lineup—I’m sure they’re excited to get in the lineup…when you have guys missing from your lineup, it provides opportunities in different ways whether you’re coming into the lineup or moving up in the lineup or taking on more responsibility. Inside of that, we gotta perform well and play well, so the opportunity’s there, but we need guys to answer that opportunity as well.”

Laviolette praised Sheary’s versatility on the ice, noting how well his training camp went and how his productivity and scoring abilities have benefited the team. “We’ve used [his flexibility] for two years now, and it looks like we’re using it on the third year as well.”

On the Capitals’ overall situation, Laviolette said, “We’ve got a group in the room right now that we believe can win. We’ve got to go out and play that way. The guys who’ve been out of the lineup had good training camps. I’m sure they’re really excited to get back in and play, and so tonight they get that opportunity…the injuries—they happen to all teams and you’ve got to deal with it. The expectations can’t change. We have to plan on playing a game that can be successful tonight.”

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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2 Responses to Capitals’ Head Coach Peter Laviolette: “The Opportunity’s There, But We Need Guys To Answer That Opportunity As Well”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Go time for Mac and Snipely.

  2. steven says:

    Opportunity may be there however is the opportunity 1 game or longer? A player cant sit for long periods and then be expected to play like a superstar in one game. Especially a rookie or young player. Maybe it would have been better to sit MoJo than the young guys. At least give them a fair chance.

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