Peter Laviolette has coached against Alex Ovechkin since the Russian superstar entered the National Hockey League in 2005-06. Laviolette was the bench boss for two teams that frequently played Ovechkin’s Capitals during the regular season, the Carolina Hurricanes (Southeast Division) and the Philadelphia Flyers (Atlantic/Metropolitan). He got very familiar with Ovechkin as an opposing player.
Since being named head coach of the Capitals in the fall, Laviolette has gotten to know Ovechkin better as both a team captain and a person. And in a conversation with 106.7 The Fan’s Sport Junkies earlier in the week, he revealed what things stood out.
“When you coach someone from afar you don’t really get to know them as a person,” Laviolette said. “When you’re on the other bench, you don’t get to know them. While I’ve said hi to him and had quick conversations with him through the course of my time coaching, now obviously it’s different.
“I think for me he’s just a real good human being,” Laviolette said. “A nice person. Sometimes that gets lost because you think of him as the top goalscorers to ever play the game. In the end, he’s got a great personality. He’s a good human being. It’s been really good working with him.”
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