Seven months after his departure as coach of the Flyers, Peter Laviolette is back in the NHL as a head coach.
The Nashville Predators hired Laviolette on Tuesday to replace Barry Trotz, who was fired in April. Trotz had been the first and only coach in Predators history until now.
“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,” said Preds general manager David Poile.
“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 is coaching Team USA at the World Championships in Belarus that start this weekend.
Irony: Laviolette thought he would get to coach Shea Weber in Philadelphia a few years ago. It didn’t happen when the Preds matched the Flyers' offer sheet. Yet he’ll still get to coach him, but somewhere else.
“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,” Laviolette said.
“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.”
Nashville’s biggest issue is scoring but Laviolette’s biggest strength is devising a pressing, attack style that sacrifices on the defensive end to score goals.
Laviolette won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006. He celebrated a coaching milestone in April 2013 with his 750th career game behind the bench.
At the time of his firing last October, Laviolette needed to coach 48 more games to pass Mike Keenan (320 games) for second on the all-time Flyer coaching list.
His final record as Flyers coach was 145-98-29 in four seasons and 3 games (fired three games into this season).