Head Coach Peter Laviolette Thinks “Having A Veteran Team” Shows Younger Capitals Players Game Expectations

Screencap: @Capitals/Twitter

On Monday, Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette spoke to the media following morning skate ahead of tonight’s tilt against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center (7 PM, NBC Sports Washington). He discussed left-wing Beck Malenstyn, who will make his 2022-23 season debut against New Jersey, how defensive scoring is critical, and continuing success as they head into November.

Beck Malenstyn will enter the lineup at left wing on the fourth line. Laviolette liked how Malenstyn’s training camp went, saying, “[He] kinda fits the mold of that fourth line, his physical play, and I like the way he played last year, he skates well…we need to be moving well, and skating well tonight, but [he] really fits the mold of that fourth line.”

Malenstyn could also provide much-needed help to the Capitals’ struggling penalty kill. “Beck’s good penalty killing,” Laviolette said. He added the Capitals’ PK “at times, it looks good” and others not so much. “Last game was a good step in the right direction and we gotta continue to work at it and try to fill those minutes the best we can.”

On facing the Devils tonight, Laviolette noted their speed and offensive abilities will challenge the Capitals. “We’re gonna have to be sharp defensively and make sure we manage our gameplay—our game the way we want to play it. We’re going to have to crank up our gears and get into a good skating game tonight. It’s good challenges. They’re a good, young team.”

Laviolette spoke of center Connor McMichael, noting the 21-year-old had a good season last year and produces a solid worth ethic. “There’s always decisions about drawing into the lineup and who goes in,” the head coach said. “Mikey’s a good player [who’s] developing and getting better as he stays here and practices and plays games and gathers experience. He’ll continue to grow and get better.

“That’s all we talk about in the room right now is defense just because the teams are so dynamic offensively, and so you gotta defend the right way,” Laviolette said regarding blueline productivity. “The minute you don’t defend the right way, there [are] holes that are exploited and scoring areas that are left open, and just seems that the players are getting out of those areas pretty quick, and they have the skill level to execute there as well, so doesn’t surprise me scoring is up, or a lot of goals being scored. There’s a lot of talent in the league.”

Laviolette reiterated that all teams go through injuries and lineups will change with players drawing in, yet the Capitals “do not even talk about it,” adding, “We’re early into this year. Obviously, it didn’t start the way we wanted in the first two games, but I feel like we kinda turned it around and keep building toward a successful month, but whoever goes in that lineup tonight is expected to play well and expected to win.”

“I think that comes from having a veteran team too because when you’ve got some veteran players in there [who] have a standard or an expectation of how the game should be played tonight and how to deliver that game, I think that young players fall in line and follow suit, so I give a lot of credit to leadership in the room from making sure we function the way we’re supposed to function.”

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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19 Responses to Head Coach Peter Laviolette Thinks “Having A Veteran Team” Shows Younger Capitals Players Game Expectations

  1. Anonymous says:

    Laviolette prefers veteran players. Let’s see where that takes him.

    • Anonymous says:

      He started a rookie D on the top pair last year and he stayed in the line up all year. He started another rookie in the top 6 this year and has stayed in the line up. The fact that people keep bashing Lavi about not playing “young” players is insane. Did you watch Mcmichael against Ottawa? He was nonexistent and has been all training camp and in his 4 pre season games as well. At what point is the ownership on the players to crack the lineup? Just because you are “young” doesn’t mean you should be given a jersey every night.

      • Della Young says:

        I can understand this. For me, it’s all about a player’s performance and productivity, regardless of age, that determines whether or not he deserves to make the lineup.

        Playing more vets over younger guys has its pros and cons. Playing more younger guys over vets has its pros and cons. I don’t think there’ll ever be a clear answer, but more so finding the right blend to success. I understand the frustrations, but at the end of the day, it’s all about what kind of effort the player, whether aged 21 or 31, gives in a game and his playmaking abilities.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        These are good points. I think the rolling narrative in social media is that the Caps don’t play the kids. If they can help win (and save Laviolette’s job in the big picture) you better bet they would be playing.

        • novafyre says:

          Disagree. Lavi stated after a practice last year that he would play rookies if the Caps were ahead. We often had underperforming vets on the ice yet the rookies sat on the bench — sometimes even after scoring.

          He has a lack of trust in them. He feels safer keeping his money in the mattress even though it could earn more if invested. It’s nothing personal against them, it’s just his bias.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think he’s right. Vets need to lay the foundation.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So Carlson and other vets consistently showing a lack of defensive responsibility means the expectations are what?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Last I checked 42 was a rookie last year and played all year. He also gave a jersey to 59 and he started in the top 6 and has routinely been one of the most consistent players. At what point do we start to put ownership on “young” players? Just because you are “young” doesn’t mean you can just get a jersey every night. Mcmichael has been nonexistent all camp and 4 preseason games plus the game against Ottawa.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Some veterans are past prime and contribute nothing, Eller for example. How do we expect to develop players if they don’t play. Can’t expect them to be perfect from day 1 or to produce with 6 minutes per game. Not talking specifically about Conner either. Even Protas is not getting the minutes he deserves. Mix in youth and have patience. Not going anywhere with this veteran group. And I don’t see many examples I want out young players to follow. Best hockey played was last year early in the season when we had a number of young guys in the lineup.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      So are you saying “rebuild”, play all the prospects? That’s certainly one approach. I don’t think most fans wanna give up on a shot at the postseason.

      • Anonymous says:

        Can’t rebuild until the bad contracts are off the books. Better start developing players to replace Oshie, Mantha, etc when their contracts expire. I would like us to mix in more of our own youth and give them chances. Some we have already lost because we didn’t (Sieg, Bura, Axel). I would play youth over a marginal vet like Eller, Gus for example. But let them play. Our young guys look scared and looking to get off ice as soon as possible. One bad shift distorts their stats because of the lack of shifts and the length of shifts.

  6. Eric Lord says:

    Laviolette reminds me a lot of Bruce Cassidy in Boston. He’ll play youngsters on the blue line, but not as much up front. Cassidy continued to role out struggling veterans the past few seasons instead of giving younger players a chance. In the end, it got him fired. Laviolette has the same mindset. We’ll see if he gets a different ending

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