In December, Peter Laviolette was enthusiastic about the NHL’s new pandemic rules requiring coaches to wear masks because of the added privacy it would give him. “Nobody will see what’s coming out my mouth,” the intense bench boss joked. “My mother will be happy.”
On Tuesday, there was no hiding Lavy’s f-bombs as Capitals players started practice not as sharp as he would have liked.
According to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti, Laviolette “stopped the morning skate barely halfway through the first line rushes.”
Peter Laviolette just stopped the morning skate barely halfway through the first line rushes. Talked to team briefly and made them start over.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) February 23, 2021
The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir added that there was some spicy language.
A few casual F bombs interspersed… https://t.co/QoRX0UOfHw
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) February 23, 2021
After practice, Laviolette addressed the matter.
“It was just a chat,” Laviolette said. “That’s all it was. We have a big game tonight and I just wanted to make sure they were ready to go. That’s all.”
This year, the NHL forbids coaches from having unnecessary close contact with players to limit possible exposure to COVID-19. Laviolette explained that’s been a challenge and part of why his prickly conversation was so public.
“We don’t get to see the guys much,” Laviolette said. “They had a day off yesterday. We left the games in the back-to-back scenario so it’s really the first look at them. I’m not allowed to have a meeting in the locker room. It’s on ice. It’s just to sharpen things up for tonight.”
The Capitals play the fifth-place Penguins (19 standings points) tonight and Thursday at home. The two games could have big playoff ramifications later in the year in a very close East Division. The Capitals (21 points) are currently second in the East, but only six points separate the Capitals from the sixth place Rangers, who they lost to on Saturday.
The Capitals have a negative-two goals differential so far this season and have lost five of their last eight games. The team will start Tuesday’s contest with Lars Eller centering Alex Ovechkin on the first line.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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