Peter Laviolette gets All Star coaching nod after excellent job at halfway mark

As we cross the halfway point of the NHL season, it’s impossible not to notice the impressive job Peter Laviolette has done in his first season at the helm of the New York Rangers. The team’s record stands at 27-13-2, accumulating 56 points, which not only tops the Metropolitan Division, but also ranks them third in the Eastern Conference.

His great first half has also earned him the right to coach the Metro Division at the NHL All Star Game in Toronto on Feb. 3. For Laviolette, it will be the third time in his career that he’s coached at the event. This will be his first time back as a coach since 2018 with the Nashville Predators.

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Peter Laviolette has an All Star first half

NHL: Boston Bruins at New York Rangers
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The 59 year-old bench boss can attribute much of his success and the Rangers to outstanding special teams performances. New York boasts the second-best power play percentage (28.2%) in the league and are an impressive seventh in penalty killing percentage (83.9%).

Laviolette’s approach has been a mix of humility and realism when dealing with his charges.

“To be honest, it hasn’t gone through my mind much,” Laviolette reflected on the season’s first half. “There are a lot of good things that we did. Certainly, the last five or six games there’s room for improvement.”

Despite their early season dominance, the Rangers have faced challenges, playing .500 hockey over the last 19 games with a record of 9-9-1. This includes a concerning four-game losing streak, which they fortunately snapped with a 2-1 victory against the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon. The win was a testament to the team’s resilience and ability to bounce back under pressure once again.

“They’re all important, even if they’re not division,” he said. “It seems like the division is winning every night. It’s amazing how many streaks are going on in the NHL right now. There are peaks and valleys inside of a season, you’ve just got to maintain a course.”

Another crucial element of the Rangers’ success under Laviolette has been his emphasis on work ethic and the structured system he has implemented. This approach has not only improved individual performances but also fostered a strong team cohesion, enabling the Rangers to excel in challenging situations.

Laviolette’s extraordinary efforts were acknowledged when he was named as a coach for the All-Star Game in Toronto. This recognition is a fitting tribute to a coach who has brought a new identity to the Rangers, setting them on a course for potentially deep playoff run.

Laviolette’s tenure with the Blueshirts so far has been nothing short of exemplary. His blend of strategic acumen, emphasis on work ethic, and ability to adapt has positioned the Rangers as a formidable force in the NHL.

As the team gears up for the second half of the season, all eyes will be on the veteran head coach to see if he can maintain this momentum and lead the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup victory in 30 years.