Peter Laviolette stresses work ethic and compete level with New York Rangers
The New York Rangers officially introduced Peter Laviolette as the 37th head coach of the franchise on Tuesday.
“When I started this process, I wanted to have a detailed and thorough search, and I’m happy to report that search led to Peter Laviolette,” President and General Manager Chris Drury said. “I truly believe his resume speaks for itself and commands respect on many different levels.”
Laviolette, 58, was the best available choice for the Rangers that according to MSG Analyst Steve Valiquette had at least eight candidates. For his NHL coaching career that spans 21 years, he’s amassed a record of 752-503-25-150 with a 78-76 mark in the playoffs. He’s also been to three Stanley Cup Finals (2006, 2010, 2017) winning with the Carolina Hurricanes on his first try.
“I am thrilled to be here as the coach of the New York Rangers,” Laviolette read from a prepared statement. “We have a really good team and really good players. My staff and I will work tirelessly to bring a Stanley Cup to New York.”
Peter Laviolette introduced as Rangers coach
Laviolette only played 12 games in the NHL on defense and they were all with the Rangers. The Norwood, Massachusetts native joked about his brief time in the show but the fact that he’s back to where it all began wasn’t lost on him.
“This is where my NHL journey started,” Laviolette reflected. “For me to be back here and tell you it means a lot to me won’t truly reflect how proud and humble I am to coach this team.”
When Drury was asked why he felt Laviolette was the right choice, he talked about the immediate connection between them.
“It’s a partnership and I’m picking his brain already,” Drury explained. “I was fortunate to play for Peter a long time ago so we have some history. He’s only been recently hired but it already feels like we’re in lockstep.”
Drury played under Laviolette for Team USA at the Olympics in 2006.
Laviolette will instill work ethic and high compete level
The obvious question directed to Laviolette was just how he will take a Rangers team that is considered a Stanley Cup contender to the next level.
“You have to play to your strengths and weakness,” Laviolette began. “But when you can get a team to play a brand of hockey that I feel can be successful, I’ve found that success follows.
“I believe you have to play good defense and you see that in teams that win the Stanley Cup. For me it’s also about – you prepare yourself to play playoff hockey. When you watch the playoff games, it’s a reminder that the compete inside the game is what makes teams great. You have to practice that on a daily basis. It has to start in training camp and become part of your DNA.”
While Laviolette briefly mentioned his coaching staff, which will reportedly include Michael Peca, he had no formal updates.
As for the elephant in the room: unlocking the full potential of both Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko, Laviolette got straight to the point.
“Those young players need an opportunity to grow and in the framework of a team, everyone wants to feel like they’re contributing,” he stated. “These conversations will take place and those opportunities will be there for [Lafreniere an Kakko] to grab that ice time and push.”
Kakko, 22, seems the most likely to be ready for the next step after posting a career-high 18 goals and 40 points last season. Meanwhile the 21 year-old Lafreniere appeared to take a step back in his third NHL season dropping from 19 goals the year prior to 16.
Laviolette is certainly advocating for the youngsters but believes in the overall makeup of the current Rangers squad.
“It’s a really good balance and blend right now,” he noted. “I think back to Carolina and there were a lot good young players and veterans. Those teams can find success and I do think that personnel is here.”
Ultimately, it will be up to the players but the new head coach is raring to go.
“Let’s go to work. Let’s get working,” Laviolette emphasized. “I think the messaging for me with the players is that we’re going to start working in training camp to try to prepare ourselves for the playoffs and a push.”
Note: Quotes via MSG Broadcast