The Capitals played their first home game Monday since head coach Peter Laviolette recorded his 700th career win Feb. 15 against the Nashville Predators. Laviolette was just the ninth coach in NHL history to achieve the feat and his team honored him with a tribute video at Capital One Arena before the puck dropped for its game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In addition to Capitals stars Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom, Washington included several players from Laviolette’s former teams. In order of appearance, Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes), Scott Hartnell (Philadelphia Flyers), Roman Josi (Nashville Predators), Michael Peca (New York Islanders) all shared messages of appreciation for the decorated head coach.
“I was there, season No. 1 in the National Hockey League and I can tell you I’m not the least bit surprised at all the success you’ve had,” Peca said in the video. “You changed the game. You made relationships with players the priority, but you made relationships with our players even more of a priority.
“They say good things happen to good people, but in this case great things happened to a great person.”
Laviolette is in his 20th season as an NHL head coach, a run that includes stops with the Islanders (2001-03), Hurricanes (2003-09), Flyers (2009-14), Predators (2014-20) and Capitals (2020-22). His teams have appeared in the playoffs 12 times over that span with three Stanley Cup Finals appearances and one championship title with the Hurricanes in 2006.
“Hey Lavy, congrats on the 700 NHL wins,” Ovechkin said. “It’s a pretty big number. Keep it going, man. Hopefully you’re gonna reach 800 and 900 soon.”