The ending to the Washington Capitals 2019-20 season was disappointing, barring NHL restart or not. With that being the case, Washington acted quickly in replacing former head coach Todd Reirden with Peter Laviolette.
Laviolette brings a winning pedigree to a D.C. team that's used to making prolonged noise in the NHL playoffs, not being eliminated in the first round.
NBC Sports Washington's Capitals broadcast team of Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin both mulled over just what Laviolette might look to improve upon arrival, especially after watching film of an abysmal playoff series loss against the New York Islanders.
"It's been about a month since the Capitals were booted from the bubble in Toronto, when Laviolette sits down and watches that game film what do you think is the most troubling aspect of the Caps film he'll have to attack and fix?" Beninati asked.
"Probably their five-on-five play," Laughlin said. "I don't think there's worries about their special teams, everybody is craving more power play goals, I thought the penalty kill has been strong, the power play has always been inconsistent in Washington. I don't think that's going to change for whoever he brings in to coach or if he keeps the coaches that are currently in place that were under Reirden."
"The five-on-five play really lacked some spice, they just weren't speed merchants through the neutral zone, they weren't creative, I thought at times during the playoffs they looked too robotic," Laughlin said. "When you look too robotic trying to play the game of inches you don't allow your creative juices to flow. I thought they were in a robotic mode, he's got to find that next gear for the Capitals."
In his career, Laviolette has lifted one Stanley Cup (in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes) and coached two teams that made it to a Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. He and his family are excited to be headed to Washington, too, to try to bring a second Cup to the nation's capital.
"The one thing about Laviolette, you look at his career coaching numbers especially at Nashville they were sixth overall in five-on-five scoring," Laughlin said. "To me that's a positive with him coming in, trying to finally fix that aspect of their game."