Despite earlier reports this week that GM David Poile wasn’t quite prepared to make a coaching change, there’s been a move behind the bench in Music City. He’s the sixth coach to be let go this season in the NHL.
During a season of struggle, the Nashville Predators have fired head coach Peter Laviolette and associate coach Kevin McCarthy. Typically a contending team in the Western Conference, the 19-15-7 Predators are almost ready to call themselves sellers at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline and apparently, the exodus starts with a couple of coaches.
Poile made a statement on the decision:
“Under the leadership of Peter and Kevin, our organization reached unprecedented heights – from our franchise-altering run to the Stanley Cup Final to a Presidents’ Trophy and our first two Central Division titles. Their passion for the game, ability to motivate a team and drive to be the best makes this a difficult decision. On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Peter and Kevin for all their contributions to the Nashville Predators over the past five-and-a-half seasons.”
A decorated coach, Laviolette likely won’t be out of work long, should he choose to join another NHL franchise. On two occasions, Laviolette led the Predators to division titles, as well as the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals. He is one of only 20 coaches in NHL history with 600-plus wins.
Predators President and CEO Sean Henry also commented on the decision to remove the two coaches. He said, “On and off the ice, the Laviolette and McCarthy families have left an indelible mark on the entire Smashville community.” He then thanked their wives for spearheading a number of charitable initiatives.
As one Twitter user (projpatsummit) said, “Peter Laviolette took the team to higher levels than it ever had in his tenure. We owe a lot to the man who took this team to it’s first ever division title, President’s Trophy and Stanley Cup Final.” He then added, “But the time has passed, and it’s time to move on.”
Apparently, the Predators felt the same way and have made the first of what could be a series of big moves before February 24th.
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