Peter Laviolette to be new Caps coach

Peter Laviolette
FILE – In this Dec. 29, 2018, file photo, Nashville Predators coach Peter Laviolette, center, and associated coach Kevin McCarthy, center left, talk to players during a timeout in an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers in Nashville, Tenn. The team announced Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, that both Laviolette and McCarthy had been fired. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

Peter Laviolette, 55, is the new head coach of the Washington Capitals.

The news was first reported by Elliotte Friedman.

“Peter is a successful NHL head coach who has won a Stanley Cup and brings a wealth of experience to our team,” said Capitals Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian MacLellan, in a news release.

“We feel he is a great communicator who will motivate our players to play with passion, structure and discipline, while helping our young players reach their potential. In addition, he is a high-character individual who is highly respected for his coaching pedigree, all of which make him the ideal person to lead our team to compete for the Stanley Cup.”

The hiring of Laviolette ends a coaching search that started Aug. 23 when Todd Reirden was fired after two seasons in charge that included two division titles and two first round playoff exits.

Reirden, one of five first-time NHL head coaches hired in the era of Alex Ovechkin, was fired days after the Caps were knocked out of the playoff in the first round. The team lost the five-game series to the New York Islanders.

Reirden was the first coach fired after hockey’s return following the pandemic-caused shutdown.

At the time, Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan said he was looking for a coach with previous experience.

“I think we need an experienced coach,” MacLellan said after Reirden’s firing. “We have an experienced group. We need someone to come in and push some buttons on some players.”

Laviolette has 18 years of NHL head coaching experience and is only the fourth coach in NHL history to lead three different teams — Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators, to the Stanley Cup Final.

He coached the New York Islanders (2001-2003), Carolina Hurricanes (2003-2008), Philadelphia Flyers (2009-2013) and Nashville Predators (2014-2020). He also coached Team USA and represented the U.S. in four Olympic Games as a player and a coach.

The Nashville Predators fired Laviolette on Jan. 6, 2020, along with Assistant coach Kevin McCarthy.

The Capitals said Laviolette compiled a career coaching record of 637-425-25-123, ranking him second in wins among U.S.-born coaches and 16th most in NHL history.

Laviolette is the 19th head coach in franchise history for the Capitals.

He and his wife, Kristen, have two sons, Peter and Jack, and a daughter, Elisabeth.

The Associated Press and WTOP’s Colleen Kelleher contributed to this story.

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson is Senior Sports Director and morning sports anchor. He first arrived at WTOP in 1989, left in 1992 and returned in 1995. He is a three-time winner of the A.I.R. award as best radio sportscaster in D.C. In 2008 he won the Edward R. Murrow award for best writing for sports commentaries.

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