New York Rangers coach Peter Laviolette making early case for Jack Adams Award
On Thursday, the NHL Coaches’ Association awarded the New York Rangers with coaching staff of the month honors for October. Over the course of the opening month of the NHL season, the Rangers amassed a 8-2-0 record for a 0.800 points percentage. Other notable stats include an 81.8% penalty kill, 32.4% power play, and a 54.2% face off percentage.
The new staff consisting of Peter Laviolette, Phil Housley, Michael Peca, and Dan Muse have come in and implemented an entirely new system on both offense and defense. Early signs led to concerns of a lengthy adjustment period for the Blueshirts. However, their impressive play on the record-setting road trip quickly shut down that notion.
Laviolette has stepped in and taken command of this Rangers team. His impact in terms of mid-game adjustments has already been noticed. In the team’s most recent win over the Carolina Hurricanes, adjustments needed to be made as the Rangers were missing two players going into the third.
“Between periods I thought we needed more bite in our game,” Laviolette explained. “From the second period not going our way, we needed a good response. There are things that we addressed in between the second and third period and that is what I like to see. When we came out in the third and I thought we got back on the attack offensively.”
Peter Laviolette early candidate for Jack Adams Award
Coaching staff of the month is a well-deserved honor for the New York coaches. More specifically, the recognition makes a great case early on for Peter Laviolette to be considered for the Jack Adams award, given annually to the NHL’s best coach.
Looking back at previous Jack Adams winners, 6 of the last 14 coaches have won the award in their first year behind the bench of their respective teams. The most recent coming last season when Jim Montgomery led the Boston Bruins to the Presidents’ Trophy in his first season with the club.
Peter Laviolette has a chance to add to that statistic in his first season with the Rangers. The coach who ranks 8th all time in wins, has come in and instilled an incredible work ethic in his team. With a commitment to team defense and playing as a five-man unit, the Rangers have given up the second fewest goals in the league and sit 5th in goal differential.
Laviolette’s history of early success
Laviolette has had consistent success at the start of his tenures of the various teams he has coached. In his first year of coaching in the NHL (2001-2002), he led the New York Islanders to a 42-28-8-4 record. In his second season with the Carolina Hurricanes (2005-2006), he held a 52-22-8 record and captured his first and only Stanley Cup.
The early success with his teams continues on. In his first season with the Philadelphia Flyers (2009-2010), he earned a 28-24-5 record coming in midway through the season, and lost in the Stanley Cup Final. In his first year with the Nashville Predators (2014-2015), he held a 47-25-10 record. He led that team to the Final once again several years later. His first year coaching for his most recent team, the Washington Capitals, he had a 36-15-5 record, finishing second in the Eastern Conference.
What all of these records and statistics add up to is that when Laviolette takes over, he demands success. The culture change that he has brought to the Rangers was seen right from the start. His training camp was a grind for many players, which set the tone for the season to come.
“New coaching staff, everything is a little bit different,” said Vincent Trocheck toward the end of preseason. “I think we’re going to be a team that is well conditioned, works hard, plays well defensively, and hopefully we can put the puck in the net.”
This is exactly what Laviolette and his staff have been trying to do from the start, and it is paying off big time.
Chances of winning the Jack Adams
According to Draft Kings, Laviolette is currently tied for second with +1200 odds to win the Jack Adams award. If the Rangers can continue on their upward trend and remain one of the top teams in the league, the chances of Laviolette taking home the home coach of the year honors could increase even more.
Peter Laviolette and the entirety of the New York Rangers’ coaching staff are incredibly deserving of this recognition thus far. Earning coaching staff of the month honors to start the season is a great sign. This comes after a bitter ending to last season as well as the tenure of Gerard Gallant. Through one month, the Rangers seem to be meshing well with their new bench boss who, along with his staff, are headed in the right direction.