In case you missed the news earlier today, the Nashville Predators have officially dismissed head coach Peter Laviolette from his position with the team.
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The Preds have been an absolute disaster this season and currently sit 7th place in the NHL's Central Division, just one point up on the last place Chicago Blackhawks. Given the talent that general manager David Poile has assembled on this team, it's nearly unbelievable to think that they'll miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season. Put bluntly, something had to be done.
Just last week Poile told the media that he was not considering a coaching change "at this time." It's interesting how quickly things can change. C'est la vie.
The team has not yet named a successor or an interim coach just yet, but NHL insider Elliotte Friedman believes that former San Jose Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer and former New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes are frontrunners for the vacant position.
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Read below for the press release announcement of this move, courtesy of the Predators' official website:
Nashville, Tenn. (January 6, 2020) - Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/GM David Poile announced Monday that the team has relieved Head Coach Peter Laviolette and Associate Coach Kevin McCarthy of their coaching responsibilities.
"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," Poile said. "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."
"On and off the ice, the Laviolette and McCarthy families have left an indelible mark on the entire Smashville community," Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said. "While Peter and Kevin worked to make our team on the ice one of the elite, their wives, Kristen and Rhonda, spearheaded countless charitable endeavors to Nashville that made a lasting impact, changed lives, and for which we owe them a debt of gratitude."
Laviolette and McCarthy led the Predators to 248 wins from the start of the 2014-15 season to the present date, the sixth-most in the NHL over that span. In 2014-15, the Predators improved by nine wins and 16 points in the standings, with Laviolette and his staff representing the team at the All-Star Game after leading the League in point percentage at the season's midpoint (.725, 27-9-4 record). He was also a finalist for the 2015 Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach. In the spring of 2017, the Laviolette-led Predators became the third club seeded lowest in its conference to advance to the Stanley Cup Final since the League adopted the conference-based playoff format in 1994. The club followed that up with the best record in franchise history (53-18-11, 117 points), a Presidents' Trophy and a Central Division title in 2017-18, then made it two Central Division crowns in a row a season ago.