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With the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs officially out of the question for the Washington Capitals, the team will look to the final five games of the 2022-23 regular season for a chance to boost some of the morale lost in a season defined by injuries, inconsistencies, and on a positive note, historic moments.
The Capitals, who have not missed the postseason in nine seasons (the 2013-14 season), were officially eliminated from a shot at a playoff berth on Tuesday, marking the first extended summer for the team since 2014.
“It’s more just reality than anything”, Head Coach Peter Laviolette said in his weekly appearance 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies of the team’s postseason miss, “I feel like in the last, maybe 10 days, there were some games that were really big. They were the teams that were right with us, right in front of us, right behind us with regard to the wild card spots where we had to win, had to find success…and we weren’t able to get that done.”
Laviolette, who has compiled a 114-75-26 (.591 Points %) regular season record in Washington, says his mindset is focused on the remainder of the season, rather than dwelling on missing the postseason.
“I haven’t thought about it that way…”, said the veteran bench boss, who has exited the first round of the playoffs in his previous two campaigns in D.C., “Even still now, we went into work yesterday, and we’re still going about our business like it’s our job to prepare, to do our best, to win hockey games. So for me, that still hasn’t changed.”
“Even though the reality has set in, it set in a few days ago…certainly where we’re at in the standings, I think everybody realizes that, but still my focus isn’t about what am I going to do on May 1, it’s what’s the plan going into Montreal, and how are we gonna play. So just going day-to-day right now, trying to finish the season the right way.”
To hear Laviolette’s full comments, see HERE
The Capitals, who have been affected throughout the season due to injuries to key veteran players, seem set to finish the regular season with their current lineup. Laviolette, whose contract expires after the season, spoke of his belief that a healthy lineup could still be competitive, while addressing the anticipated “retooling” the team is likely to undertake this summer.
“I definitely think this team can still be successful”, Laviolette said, You know we were able to, the two years prior…we were able to get through that adversity, make the playoffs, and ended up playing who finished first in the league, in the first round.”
“This year, it’s just a lot we’re dealing with and not get that (making the playoffs through adversity) done, I still think that given good health and a full squad, the entire season with that group, I feel like we can still find success.”
“I don’t think it would be difficult to retool and find success next year.”
By Michael Fleetwood
Polish up that resume, Pete. Here, I’ve given you a head start:
Name: Peter Laviolette
Birhplace: Franklin, Massachusetts
Objective: To obtain a position as a head coach with a hockey team
Experience: 21 seasons as NHL head coach
And the American born Head Coach with the most wins. Bye HCPL.
Injuries aside the Caps need to get younger, bigger, and stronger. The style of play has changed ever so slightly over the last five ten years. I’m not sure Washington is heading in that direction! I guess the fans of the team will watch a player chase a scoring record in lieu of a Stanley Cup.
Caps need more than younger players. They need new strategies. Blaine’s PP is so old it’s in the National Archives. Putting young players in old schemes isn’t going to get the job done. And Lavi just said he doesn’t see any need to change. He needs to go.
I almost feel bad for Lavi, but when I think back to his benching Siegenthaler I get over it pretty quick.
I think he will be offered a contract. If he’s not back next year it will be because he turned it down.
Considering the depth of quality unemployed coaches, coaches ripe for poaching, and the soon-to-be fired coaches, there’s no reason to bring back Laviolette, who has had only middling success in DC. He’s an excellent coach, but he wasn’t able to get the most of key players at critical times. I think back to the Carolina series, in the game that O KOed Svechnikov, another Canes forward also got hurt- they beat the Caps handily with 10 forwards. For whatever reason, PL couldn’t get the team to be opportunistic and to go for the kill. The Caps need a new voice.
“You know we were able to, the two years prior…we were able to get through that adversity, make the playoffs, and ended up playing who finished first in the league, in the first round.”
Yes, the Caps ended up playing who finished first because the Caps finished eighth. You can’t complain about your opponent when you could have done a better job in the regular season and had a more favorable matchup.
The head coach during the Carolina series was Todd Reirden, not Laviolette. For what it’s worth he coached the Panther’s series well, the team, in particular the goalies didn’t execute.