Nashville Predators general manager David Poile admitted he "wanted a coach who brought a little bit different style of play" when he looked for the replacement for Barry Trotz.
He says he's found that kind of coach in Peter Laviolette.
Poile contrasted Laviolette — who had previous stints with the Islanders, Hurricanes (where he won a Stanley Cup) and Flyers — with Trotz, saying "Peter has a system he plays he's had success with. A little more uptempo, a little more offensively-oriented."
And perhaps most importantly for a team that's had a run of playoff appearances — seven of nine years before missing the post-season the last two years — but with little playoff success (just two series wins in those seven appearances), he's found someone who's been able to do what Trotz was often unable to do.
"I needed and wanted a coach who had a track record of winning not just in the regular seaon but in the playoffs," Poile said, noting Laviolette has won nine of the 14 playoff appearances his teams have made. "I wanted someone who won a Stanley Cup."
Laviolette's hiring isn't a surprise — he was the bettors' choice — in part because both he and Poile have strong ties to USA Hockey. And it was those ties Poile built in the run-up to February's Winter Olympics that gave the GM confidence in his choice.
Laviolette was fired by Philadelphia after starting the season 0-3 and Poile said while Laviolette didn't have an NHL job, he acted as Poile's conduit to the other coaches for the US Olympic team.
"We had a GM-coach relationship the whole year last year. With Peter Laviolette, in some form, I interviewed him all year long," Poile said.
Despite the seemingly foreordained nature of the hire, Poile insisted he cast a wide net, looking even down into junior and college hockey, before deciding what was likely his first choice was the best choice, and inspired to act, no doubt, by a sudden rash of coaching job openings ("We sped up our process, if you will," he said).
Laviolette, for what it's worth, was not at the announcement. He's coaching the US team in the World Championships in Belarus.
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