Report: Mutual interest between Predators and Laviolette for coaching job

by May 6, 9:12 AM

Peter Laviolette appears to be a strong candidate to replace Barry Trotz as coach of the Nashville Predators, according to reports suggesting mutual interest between the two sides.

Laviolette boasts 759 regular season games of NHL experience, coaching the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers. He led the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup championship in 2006 and lost in the Stanley Cup finals while coaching the Flyers in 2010.

Philadelphia fired Laviolette after an 0-3-0 start to the 2013-14 season. Laviolette was an assistant coach for Team USA at the Sochi Olympics.

Laviolette's career coaching record stands at 389-282-25. He is nowhere near the same kind of defensively-minded coach as Trotz and could look to implement a more high-tempo offense if Nashville decides to hire him.

Laviolette is also rumored to be in the running to fill the Florida Panthers' coaching vacancy.

May 6, 3:40 PM

Predators' Poile on hiring Laviolette: 'In some form I was interviewing him all year long'

by May 6, 3:40 PM
Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Nashville Predators general manager David Poile held a press conference on Tuesday to provide some insight into the process of hiring Peter Laviolette as the team's new head coach.

Poile and Laviolette already have some experience working together as part of the U.S. Olympic team's staff.

Poile built the Team USA that went to Sochi, while Laviolette was one of the team's coaches. Unfortunately, Poile was unable to watch Laviolette up close during the Olympics due to an injury he suffered prior to the tournament, but he did not hesitate once he realized Laviolette was the right fit.

Poile is very optimistic about Laviolette's ability to turn Nashville's fortunes around. The Predators spent the previous two seasons mired near the bottom of the Central Division but Poile thinks those results are a thing of the past.

Laviolette brings a much more dynamic, risk-prone offense to Nashville than his predecessor Barry Trotz, but Poile doesn't appear concerned the change will have a jarring effect on the team's culture.

Poile credited Laviolette with the development of players like Eric Staal and Claude Giroux when he was coach of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Philadelphia Flyers, respectively. The Predators have a high-ceiling center prospect of their own in Filip Forsberg, who should benefit significantly from a more offensive-minded system.

Feature photo courtesy of Lucas Jackson / Reuters

May 6, 1:03 PM

Predators hire Peter Laviolette as new head coach

by May 6, 1:03 PM
Kyle Terada / USA Today

The Predators hired Peter Laviolette as their new head coach Tuesday, signing him to a multi-year contract, according to the team's website.

Laviolette becomes the Predators' second head coach in franchise history, following the vacancy left by Barry Trotz when the team opted to let him go after 15 years of service.

Kevin McCarthy, Lane Lambert and Phil Housley were also announced as members of Laviolette's coaching staff.

President of hockey operations and general manager David Poile feels Laviolette's past success, which includes a Stanley Cup championship with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, can propel the Predators to the next level.

Having reached the peak as a Stanley Cup Champion, Peter knows the intensity and urgency it will take to help our team reach its ultimate goal. He is a great hockey mind who not only has a winning resume, but has done it with an aggressive offensive philosophy while also excelling in helping young players reach their potential. We look forward to Peter instilling his culture in Nashville immediately following his duties coaching the United States at the 2014 World Championship.

Laviolette expressed his eagerness to work with some of the premier players featured on the Predators' roster and his intentions to get the most out of the team's young offensive talent.

I love the nucleus of this team, starting on the back end with two of the best players at their positions in defenseman Shea Weber and goaltender Pekka Rinne, in addition to a solid group of dependable veterans and talented, rising young talent. My challenge will be to impart a system that enables our young forwards to thrive and reach their offensive potential. Being a perennial Stanley Cup contender requires buy-in, passion and commitment from every player on the roster. I can’t wait to get to Nashville and get started on our journey.

The job in Nashville becomes Laviolette's fourth head coaching gig after spending time with the New York Islanders, Hurricanes and, most recently, the Philadelphia Flyers.

Laviolette was fired by the Flyers in Oct. 2013. He guided the Flyers to a Stanley Cup appearance in 2010, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks, and the team followed up their success with two consecutive seasons of advancing to the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

During a coaching career that's spanned 12 years, he compiled an overall record of 389-282-(25)-63 (866 points).

Feature photo courtesy of Kyle Terada / USA Today