Peter Laviolette will be introduced as the New York Rangers’ new head coach, according to numerous internet reports.
Gerard Gallant, who was sacked after the Rangers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs last month, is replaced by Laviolette.
The ironic thing is that Gallant and Laviolette are both made of the same matter. Both coaches are enthusiastic motivators who emphasize interpersonal connections over tactics and “Xs and Os” in their coaching approach. However, Laviolette does have a Stanley Cup win on his résumé, making him perhaps the most qualified candidate for the job. The Rangers must have faith in his ability to help them go over the finish line.
I remain dubious, though.
I don’t think the Rangers specifically have a motivational problem. They don’t require a fiery character like Laviolette to motivate them before games. Their young players require more training and a really strong framework in which to play. In all honesty, I believe that the Rangers would benefit more from the hiring of a coach who places a stronger focus on systems and player development, but I digress.
Again, Laviolette is a walking resume. He has been the NHL’s head coach for 20 years, and he has made an imprint at each location along the road. He had mixed results throughout his three seasons with the Washington Capitals, but he managed to reach the Stanley Cup Final with three different teams, winning it just once.
He will now take up a position in New York, where he will be asked to maximize a team that is going through a transformation. Although the Rangers’ top players are firmly in the peak of their careers, the team’s younger players have just been unable to advance. Igor Shesterkin, Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Adam Fox, and Jacob Trouba are examples of players whose performance is predictable, but what about Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, and Filip Chytil? Will these men ever become famous? Former first- and second-round picks, Lafreniere and Kakko, respectively, have had almost no effect in their careers to far.