Peter Laviolette’s former Islanders in favor of Rangers role

Whatever the reason, there is an undercurrent of resignation to Peter Laviolette’s inclusion in the discussion of who will be the Rangers’ next coach, as if he is due in part to his availability in the job market rather than his accomplishments of more than two decades. as an NHL coach.

Maybe that’s what the Capitals hoped for after reciprocating parting ways with Laviolette after a 35-37-10 record last season, which ended a playoff streak that began in 2015 and lasted since 2007. It marked the second time that the tournament was held without Washington.

However, the body of work for Laviolette includes a Stanley Cup championship with the 2006 Hurricanes and Cup Final appearances with the 2010 Flyers and 2017 Predators.

One reason is that he has never spent an entire season out of work since his playing career ended in 1997, when he made the jump from playing with the AHL’s Providence Bruins to coaching the AHL’s Wheeling Nailers.

Laviolette got behind an NHL bench within three seasons as an assistant with the Bruins, then quickly ascended to head coach of the Islanders.


Peter Laviolette, head coach of the Washington Capitals
AP

“I don’t know why he wouldn’t be a strong candidate,” Mike Milbury, the general manager who first hired Laviolette on Long Island, told the Post by phone Friday. “I know sometimes people want to shake it off with a radical approach and hire young guys, college guys, but if you want an experienced guy who knows how to handle the bench and How to handle the locker room – one of the key elements of being a successful coach – I think he will be a strong candidate for any opening that exists in the league today.”

As a young, first-year head coach with the Islanders in 2001–02, Laviolette quickly endeared himself to his players and staff by taking time to build relationships away from the team.

When the Islanders held a Halloween party, Laviolette asked if the coaches and their wives could attend.


Peter Laviolette of the New York Islanders stands on the bench against the Oilers.
Peter Laviolette of the New York Islanders stands on the bench against the Oilers.
Getty Images / NHLI

,[Some] The staff I played for would never have been asked. I was kind of surprised,” Michael Peka, the Islanders’ captain that season, told The Post. “We thought it would be a good idea. He is like this till today. He really connects personally with the athletes and their families. I think that’s why they’ve created such an incredible work environment.

This also translated into results, as the team rose from last place in the NHL in 2000–01 to a playoff berth in Laviolette’s first season.

Shaun Bates’ penalty shot provided a lasting memory in the first round series the Islanders ultimately lost to Toronto in seven games.

“Their teams are definitely ready,” said Pekka, who worked with Laviolette during the 2020-21 season as the Capitals’ development coach. “I like every day, the way they handle things, there’s a lot to be learned. … There’s always a bunch of guys on their teams that want to play for each other and will go to war for each other.” .

If Laviolette does join the other side of the New York battle, 20 years after he last coached the Islanders, he will not be joining an upstart but one walking into the Crucible.

Gerard Gallant’s records of 110 and 107 regular-season points in his first two seasons were deemed not enough after a first-round playoff loss to the Devils, and dressing rooms full of star power ranged from Halloween costumes to reach the ultimate more will be needed. Aiming to end a 30-year cup drought.

“I think he knows how to communicate with people who are in the limelight,” Milbury said. “You gotta circle the wagons with the guys first and foremost and make sure they’re on the same page with you. He’ll have no problem doing that. He’s had stars before, he’s had a championship team before.


Gerard Gallant
Gerard Gallant
Robert Sabo for the NY Post

“With the experience that he’s got, this is not the Peter Laviolette that I hired. This is a guy who has battle-tested himself and whoever is taking that job in Manhattan, One has to be prepared for the kind of scrutiny that comes with being a coach. Certainly with his level of experience, I don’t think he will have any trouble handling it.”

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