On Saturday, Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette spoke to the media following morning skate ahead of tonight’s tilt against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena (8 PM, NBC Sports Washington). He discussed facing the Predators along with some insight into the penalty kill, which includes left-wing Conor Sheary.
Laviolette is heading back to his old stomping grounds tonight. He racked up 248 wins in six seasons with the Predators and took them to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017, where they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. Back in February, “Smashville” honored their former head coach, which was Laviolette’s first time back at Bridgestone Arena since becoming the head coach for Washington.
“It’s always good coming back here—like Nashville’s a great city…we really enjoyed our time here. The city continues to grow and amaze me; you look around after just being gone a couple of years, but our time here was really good.”
On facing the Predators tonight, Laviolette said, “They’re always on the attack. There [are] a lot of similarities, to be honest with you in where teams play, but they attack the net, they bring pucks to the net. They’re hard to play against, they’re physical. I think we’re both one of the top physical teams in the league…you gotta gear up for that and be ready.”
Sheary is getting ice time on the penalty kill unit, which is something the 30-year-old rarely experienced in his NHL career. Laviolette called him a “really smart, two-way player,” adding, “I can’t see it from anything he’s deficient at because he’s—he’s somebody we would have on the ice when it comes to win a game. You know, if we’re up by a goal and there’s two minutes to go, like he’s somebody [who] we would count on to make sure the game gets delivered. He battles hard, he sees the ice, he’s got good hockey sense, he’s willing to sacrifice, so he does the little things that make him successful.”
He explained further into the special teams: “I often think that some of the best penalty killers are power-play guys because they know what the other power-play is thinking as the other power-play is working it out, and so they have that anticipation and that jump to see things from a reverse angle…he’d be able to defend it just a little bit better, just a little bit quicker, so I think you see that more and more now in the game that the top players, the skilled, the high-end players, the guys [who] are for sure first unit power-play guys are now killing penalties as well, but I think the way teams defend now is everybody’s counted on to defend.”
Head coach Peter Laviolette talks the club making its lone regular season visit to Nashville tonight, finding success on the penalty kill with Conor Sheary and more from morning skate.#CapsPreds | @SociosUSA pic.twitter.com/18i3BStWoP
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 29, 2022
By Della Young