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Capitals’ current and future goals require rookies to play more

washington capitals head coach Peter LavioletteThe window to bring another Stanley Cup to Washington is closing fast. Yes, he’s only been at the helm for two seasons, but he’s been brought in for a reason, and that’s to lead the veteran roster to another franchise title. The downside is that if he doesn’t fit in, it will ultimately be his downfall.

Laviolette needs to be Mr. Right, not Mr. Now

Laviolette, 57, is undoubtedly the head coach of the Hall of Fame. Shortly after the start of the 2021-22 season, he became a Most awarded American-born head coach in NHL history. He currently has 693 wins, which is 10th all-time and 3rd among active coaches behind Barry Trotz and Lindy Love.

His career at the helm of an NHL team began in 2001 when he was hired as the head coach of the New York Islanders. Before Laviolette took over, the team had missed the playoffs for seven straight years. He led the team to the playoffs in both of his seasons before moving to Carolina in 2003-04.

After a year of rebuilding, he got the Hurricanes into the playoffs. In 2006, he won the Stanley Cup with Carolina. However, disappointment followed as the team missed the next two playoffs, and he was fired in 2008.

Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette (Amy Owen /hockey writer)

Laviolette then became the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2009. That season, the team reached the Stanley Cup Finals as the seventh seed, including an improbable comeback from a 3-0 Finals series against the Boston Bruins. After being eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals the next two years, and failing to make the playoffs for another season, Laviolette was fired three times in 2013-14.

His next stop was Nashville, where he replaced Trotz, who went on to coach the Capitals after his stint with the Predators. Laviolette led Nashville to the playoffs in four of his five seasons as head coach, including a run to the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals. He was fired midway through the 2019-20 season.

On September 15, 2020, he was hired as the head coach of the Capitals. Although he has now impressively led five teams to the playoffs, including three to the Stanley Cup finals, taking over in Washington is different. He inherited a perennial contender…and a poor playoff run.

Washington’s short belt

As with any good franchise, expectations are high in Washington, especially when urgency is an extra variable. Assuming the team will make the playoffs this year, barring a major collapse, the Capitals have made the playoffs 14 times in the past 15 years, including a still-fresh Stanley Cup winner from 2018.

Coinciding with the arrival of a generation of talents Alex Ovechkin, Washington has seven different head coaches, three of them since 2018. That might not stand out to some, but it shows that management is now committed to winning another championship, and just making the playoffs isn’t good enough. Heck, even winning the Stanley Cup wasn’t enough to give Trotz a better package.

Todd Reidern (2019-2020) was a disaster. He’s right mr. because he’s already been labelled the heir and knows the team well and easily transitions to winning the title to continue the momentum…and the reasoning as well. Reirden went 5-10 in the playoffs after his second early exit in the playoffs.

coach term of office win View% playoff win playoff win percentage
Peter Laviolette 2021-current 56 .677 1 .200
Todd Ryden 2019-2020 89 .642 5 .333
Barry Troz * 2015-2018 205 .677 63 .571
Adam Oates 2013-2014 65 .565 7 .429
Dale Hunt 2012-2012 30 .558 14 .500
Bruce Boudreau 2008-2012 201 .672 37 .459
Glen Hanlon 2004-2008 122 .408 0 .000
Head coach of the Capitals since Alex Ovechkin arrived in Washington. * Trotz won the team’s only Stanley Cup in 2018.

It’s not about winning in Washington; it’s about winning it all. Management is fed up with the disappointment of Bruce Boudreau (2008-2012) in the playoffs. Dale Hunter and Adam Oates are bad coaching experiments, even though they are beloved in Washington. They found a winner at Trotz, but screwed it up. After Laydon, they now have La Violet … as the Capitals coach, he’s 1-4 in the playoffs.

The question to ponder is how short Laviolette’s bondage is and how willing he is to adapt. The current answers are “very” and “not very”.

Laviolette needs to adapt

General managers Brian McClellan and Laviolette aren’t focusing on the future, but that’s exactly what they need to do. old soldier And more and more time is missed, but the focus of moves and coaching strategies past deadlines seems to be more to further develop those legacy that really don’t need more support.

Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/hockey writer)

Ovechkin, 36, is averaging 22:03 minutes per game, the third-highest of his career.Yes, he’s playing at a Hart level right now, but it’s all a trade-off and the power play dilemma can be thought of as being related to wearing Ovechkin. This team has always been a dangerous unit with a man advantage and is currently 29th in power play percentage (14.6). That’s not going to work, they’re not going to win the Stanley Cup unless things change.

This adds to the overuse of veterans, given Laviolette’s preference for physical competition. The answers to the team’s questions are already on the roster, but it’s up to Laviolette to take advantage of the luxury that has been given him this season.

More use of rookies

Washington uses 13 rookies in the 2021-22 season that could help offset their unexpected development, fast and out of necessity Overuse of Veterans And secure the future of the franchise in the process.

related: 4 former capitals have good seasons, 2 are struggling

Rookies are not expected to contribute as much as they do. It’s surprising that there’s even talent in the system after McClellan has given up draft picks over the years, especially considering it really only made it once. However, the Hershey Bears, an affiliate of the American Hockey League (AHL) in Washington, ranked first in the AHL Atlantic Division and second in the East with 40 points. As an interesting note, they also ranked 7th in the AHL in power play percentage (19.3).

Aliaksei Protas, Washington Capital
Aliaksei Protas, Washington Capitals (Amy Owen /hockey writer)

Players like Brett Leeson, Conor McMichael, and Aliaksei Protas Provided depth in their roles, and every time they showed progress on the ice.if Martin Fehvari Left out of the equation, the other 11 skaters (goalie Zach Fucale was another rookie missing) averaged just 10:31 on the ice over a total of 120 games. All but one rookie scored at least one point this season, with Leason, McMichael and Protas adding up to 23 points. Those minutes should be higher if they have enough credit to fill the roster.

They are no longer on the team out of necessity; the purpose of their skating is to contribute consistently. They need more opportunities to do this. It’s not asking them to take over the reins, it’s asking them to develop more while taking the pressure off established stars. To be fair, La Violet has adjusted the roster accordingly, but it’s time to go a step further.

The benefit of implementing this strategy now is that it is only January.

Franchise Transition

The Capitals have eight restricted/unrestricted free agents to deal with this summer, five of them (Justin Schultz, Matt Irving, Ilya Samsonov or Vitek Vanechek) , Daniel Sprang, Michal Kempney) may be allowed to test the market. Nine more could become free agents in the summer of 2023.

two years. They have two years on most of this existing roster, and La Violet has two years too — maybe. If he’s not going to develop among youngsters now, then he’s not the right person for the team’s future. Despite this success, he is still 1-2 in the Stanley Cup finals and has a .594 regular season winning percentage, 11th among active coaches, and a drop in that percentage in the career playoffs. to .514 and has been dismissed by three of the other four teams.

related: Capital’s latest struggles should be a wake-up call

Rookies have proven they can play, and more games will get the experience they need so the team doesn’t get bogged down in a rebuild. More relevant this season, it will take the pressure off veterans and keep them fresh for Stanley Cup games.

Conor McMichael Washington Capitals
Washington Capitals’ Conor McMichael (Jess Starr/hockey writer)

You can’t just keep buying veterans at the trade deadline ( There is one exception this year will be the goalkeeper).Paraphrasing “Now,” the bubblegum punk show The 2000 hit of the SR-71, “I know [Laviolette] not necessarily [Mr.] right, [he’ll] Do it now. “

Crucially, Laviolette put his stubbornness aside and replaced it with trust in the team’s younger generation. His window closed sooner than this generation’s last chance at another cup game. He needs it, the rookie needs it, the team needs it.

To further explain the above explanation, possibly a harbinger of the future, La Violet is “driving at a slower pace” [Caps’ fans] Crazy, but now it’s over. “

It doesn’t have to be that way, but it’s fair to say Capitals fans have earned the right to be impatient.


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Carl Knauf is Writer and Senior Reporter (so the degree says).he specializes in sporty– mainly hockey –music, and Publishing Industry. His sports work has been featured in hockey writer, last word on sports, and the local newspaper in his home state of New Mexico. Carr covers the Washington Capitals with accurate reporting and detailed analysis to help readers answer basic and pressing questions, such as “Why didn’t the Capitals win the Stanley Cup (again)?”

Karl is a huge fan of interacting with his audience (except for the trolls he refuses to be embarrassed by the response).Please use the comments section at the bottom of every THW article and feel free to chat and follow him Twitter. For interviews and feature requests, visit his Slag rack contour.


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