The Nashville Predators were the first time to fire their coach this offseason and now they are the first to hire a new coach. Peter Laviolette is the second coach in franchise history, signing a multi-year contract to take over.
With Laviolette's hire, Kevin McCarthy will join him as an assistant with Lane Lambert and Phil Housley.
"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," GM David Poile said. "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."
Poile, you might recall, was the GM of Team USA for the Sochi Olympics, a team that had Laviolette as an assistant. The two have a previous relationship in that regard already.
Laviolette, meanwhile, really likes what he's getting into with the Predators.
"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."
Laviolette was let go just three games into this season by the Philadelphia Flyers after coaching there since 2009. In his career that also includes a Stanley Cup in Carolina, Laviolette has a record of 389-282-(25 ties)-63.
With more jobs opening up this summer, it figured that Laviolette was going to be in high demand. He took the fall for the Flyers' struggles when they couldn't score a goal but has a long track record of success as a coach. His challenge will be about the opposite of what he faced in Philly; he'll need to get a team that has solid defensemen and goaltending to start scoring.