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Peter Laviolette named Washington Capitals head coach

Peter Laviolette has been named the new coach of the Washington Capitals, the team announced on Tuesday.

Laviolette’s deal is believed to last three years, a source told ESPN.

Laviolette, 55, has 18 years of experience as head coach and ranks 16th in all-time victories with a career record of 637-425-123. Laviolette won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 and most recently coached the Predators, but was fired in January after five and a half seasons with the team. Laviolette also took the 2010 Flyers and 2017 Predators to the Stanley Cup Final.

“We believe he is a great communicator who will motivate our players to play with passion, structure and discipline, helping our young players reach their potential,”

; Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “In addition, he is a high-character individual who is highly respected for his coaching pedigree, making him the ideal person to lead our team to compete for the Stanley Cup.”

“I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to lead this hockey club,” Laviolette said in the statement. “This is a winning organization with high expectations. I am looking forward to coaching this amazing group of players and bringing my experience and vision to the team.”

Laviolette is still under contract with the Predators for next season, earning $ 2.5 million, but the Capitals are expected to cover that salary as part of the deal.

Laviolette replaces Todd Reirden, who was fired three days after Washington was eliminated from the playoffs this summer. The Capitals hired Reirden, one of their best assistants, after entering into a contract dispute with manager Barry Trotz shortly after winning the Stanley Cup in 2018. However, the Capitals were eliminated in the first round in the first two seasons of Reirden, including five defeated against the Trots Islanders this summer.

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Since then Reirden has been hired as an assistant coach in Pittsburgh.

MacLellan was clear that the main criterion he was looking for in a new manager was experience. Mike Babcock and Gerard Gallant were the other two Washington finalists, according to sources. Trotz was the only one of six coaches in the Alex Ovechkin era with previous experience as head coach. The other five were rookies.

MacLellan said last month that he started noticing a regression in his squad in late December.

“You may see the style of play starting to deteriorate,” MacLellan told reporters in August. “I think we’ve had a good culture here, and it’s starting to slip. I think we have to grab it, bring it back to where it was. We have developed a habit of thinking we can play well when we have to play well, rather than developing good habits and games. they will take care of themselves “.

The Capitals face another offseason where they are tied by the salary cap, which is expected to remain unchanged at $ 81.5 million. Goalkeeper Braden Holtby, who won the Cup in 2018, is an unrestricted free agent and could walk as the squad target 23-year-old Ilya Samsonov on the net. Ovechkin, meanwhile, will become a free agent in 2021.

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