Peter Laviolette returns to D.C. with Metro leading Rangers after last season’s dismissal
When the New York Rangers head to Washington D.C. to take on the Capitals, it will be a homecoming for head coach Peter Laviolette. The Rangers’ new bench boss spent the last three seasons at the helm of the Washington Capitals and this will be his first time coaching there since he was dismissed in April.
Over Laviolette’s three seasons in Washington, he amassed a record of 115-78-27, good enough for a .584% points percentage. While this team was great in the regular season, they did not have much success in the playoffs. Over his tenure, Laviolette made the playoffs twice, losing each year in the first round. Washington’s playoff record over the three seasons was 3-8.
Weighed down by a ton of injuries, Washington was only able to manage a record of 35-37-10 last year. That also saw their impressive playoff streak come to an end, and with that, the end of Laviolette’s time behind the bench.
As the old saying goes, someone else’s trash is another one’s gold.
Peter Laviolette returns to D.C. leading the New York Rangers
New York hired Laviolette in the offseason and they’re sure glad they did. In the early going, he has the Rangers near the top of the NHL standings and leading the Metro Division with a record of 18-5-1.
However, heading into this matchup, the Rangers’ head coach had nothing but positive things to say about his former club. “My time in Washington was really good,” Laviolette explained. “I worked with really good players in a really good city for a really good organization.”
He went on to talk about his decision to leave the organization after three years, saying, “At the time when talking about it, my contract was up, and we made a decision to just step back for a second, and so we did.”
That decision ultimately landed him behind the bench at Madison Square Garden, where Laviolette once played as a member of the Rangers for a short time. Despite his decision to leave Washington, Laviolette is looking forward to making his return.
“As far as my time goes there, I really enjoyed it,” Laviolette mentioned. “The players were a good group of guys. The fan base is a really loyal fan base. The ownership and the team were really strong. It was a big city, Washington, being in D.C., so that was fun too, just being in that city for a stint.
Laviolette has been all over the map throughout his coaching career. He is now with his sixth NHL club, five of which have been Metropolitan division teams (New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers). Laviolette certainly brings a lot of experience to the bench, with 1,454 games and a .590% win percentage under his belt as a coach.
He reflected on his coaching career, saying, “My career has bounced me around into different places. Some would look at it as maybe a negative. Now I think, in hindsight, I look at it as a positive, where I got to go to these really cool places and spend time and do something that I love.”
For Laviolette, the focus will be getting his team back on track and winning a hockey game. That being said, he still acknowledges that there will be different feelings and emotions going on. “I think it’s always a little bit different because the players are on the ice, and they’re the ones that put in the work. They’re the ones who are on display, their skills and their game. When you go back you get to see a bunch of people that you’ve met along the way and that’s always good too.”
While he enjoyed his time in Washington, Laviolette knows how special it is to coach in New York. “It’s New York City, it’s Madison Square Garden, it’s an original six team,” he mentioned. “There’s a whole bunch of reasons why people would want to be a part of the New York Rangers. The fan base is unbelievable, passionate. They love their team and they love their sport. It’s just a great energy and a great place to be.”
The Rangers are coming off a rough loss in their last meeting against the Ottawa Senators. They will look to get back into the win column and earn their coach another victory in his homecoming against Washington on Saturday.