Flyers

Laviolette joins heavy hitters in Metropolitan Division

Flyers

Talk about some heavy hitters behind the benches in the Metropolitan Division.

On Tuesday, the Capitals filled their head coaching vacancy by hiring former Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.

Laviolette, who was fired by the Predators in January, has taken all four teams he has coached to the playoffs and three of them to the Stanley Cup Final, winning it all with the Hurricanes in 2006.

The 55-year-old coached the Flyers for parts of five seasons from 2009 to 2013. He led the club to its last Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2010.

"Peter is a successful NHL head coach who has won a Stanley Cup and brings a wealth of experience to our team," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement on the team's official website. "We feel he is a great communicator who will motivate our players to play with passion, structure and discipline, while helping our young players reach their potential. In addition, he is a high-character individual who is highly respected for his coaching pedigree, all of which make him the ideal person to lead our team to compete for the Stanley Cup."

After losing to the Islanders in the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Capitals fired head coach Todd Reirden.

With Laviolette joining the Capitals, he has coached four teams that are now currently in the Metropolitan Division (Islanders, Hurricanes, Flyers, Capitals). Alain Vigneault (Rangers, Flyers), Barry Trotz (Capitals, Islanders) and John Tortorella (Rangers, Blue Jackets) have also coached multiple clubs in the division.

 

Along with Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan and the Devils' hiring of Lindy Ruff, the Metropolitan Division — which was the deepest in hockey during the 2019-20 regular season — is not lacking experience.

The fiery and intense Laviolette is famously remembered in Philadelphia for his timeout in Game 7 of the team's 2010 second-round playoff series against the Bruins. The Flyers were trailing 3-0 in the first period. Following the timeout, the Flyers ended up scoring four unanswered goals to stun Boston and complete their historic rally from down 3-0 in the series. They went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Blackhawks in six games.

"Lavy gave a special speech," Simon Gagne said in May.

Keep an eye on another coach that was behind the Flyers' bench in 2009-10: John Stevens

Stevens just advanced to the Stanley Cup Final as an assistant coach with the Stars. He led the Flyers to back-to-back playoff appearances from 2007 to 2009 and was let go by the club 25 games into the 2009-10 campaign, opening the door for Laviolette's tenure in Philadelphia.

Stevens hasn't been an NHL head coach since 2018-19, when he was fired by the Kings 13 games into the season.