Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette has done the whole “meeting new faces” process a handful of times in his career as an NHL bench boss, but normally that happens before you coach an entire season with your new team.
Due to the pandemic and the restrictions placed on teams last season, Lavy is only now meeting scouts and other members of the Capitals organization for the first time.
In Mike Vogel’s ‘Break the Ice’ podcast, Laviolette details how last season was like none other he has gone through.
“Last year was a really different experience,” Laviolette said. “All teams dealt with the restrictions that we had to go through because of COVID. Some of the things that went on, we were broken up into groups and sent to meetings in four different parts of the locker room by TV, or the power play meeting, the penalty kill meeting. You don’t even meet as a group anymore.
“Everything goes out [digital] and we’re counting on the players to watch these things,” he added. “To having no fans in the building, to not really getting to meet anybody in the organization, especially for me coming in as a new coach. There’s always that time where you get to meet people and the only people I ever got to meet were the ones inside of our world that traveled on the plane that had access to the locker room.”
Laviolette went into further detail about that process and how it’s really only just now starting for him.
“Even now, Training Camp is here and I’m meeting the scouts for the first time,” Laviolette said. “Meeting people from the front office. There’s still a lot of people that I haven’t met. I went over to Alex Ovechkin’s house the other night for a cookout and I met his wife for the first time. This is the first wife — this is just a week ago — this is the first wife that I’ve met in the organization from the players. So you don’t have any of that unity inside of the room. There is none of that bonding, getting to know people, and trying to understand them a little better, what they’re maybe going through. Just from a team standpoint, it made it very difficult.”
The Caps bench boss and noted motivator hopes the People Side of the game can come back this season.
“It was just a different year and hopefully it’s in the rearview mirror and things can stay on the course that they’re at right now,” he said. “People can come back and you get to see the human side of things a little bit more.”
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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