Winningest U.S.-born NHL coach let go after three seasons

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The Washington Capitals announced Friday that the team and coach Peter Laviolette have agreed to part ways after three seasons.

Laviolette, whose contract expires on June 30, had been hired in 2020 to give the Capitals experience behind the bench after the unsuccessful Todd Reirden tenure. Reirden, who had been promoted to his first NHL head coaching job after Barry Trotz’s departure, was fired after two seasons of first-round exits.

Laviolette is a former Stanley Cup winner who leads U.S.-born coaches with 752 wins. But he wasn’t able to find success with the Capitals, even with a strong core of No. 2 overall goal scorer Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Tom Wilson, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov that had won the Stanley Cup in 2018 under Trotz.

The Capitals finished second and fourth in the division and were ousted in the first round during his first two seasons. This season, their eight-season playoff streak came to an end, even though they had changed up their goaltending by signing Stanley Cup winner Darcy Kuemper.

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There were circumstances beyond Laviolette’s control. Backstrom and Wilson didn’t play until January because of offseason surgeries. Carlson missed nearly two months after getting hit in the head with a puck. Oshie was out three separate times and Ovechkin missed time because of his father’s death and assorted injuries.

General manager Brian MacLellan, amid a losing streak, moved out Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway, Marcus Johansson, Erik Gustafsson and Lars Eller at the trade deadline in a bid to get younger.

The Capitals were officially eliminated from the playoffs on April 4. Laviolette finishes his Capitals tenure with a 115-78-27 record.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY