Peter Laviolette is returning to an Eastern Conference bench, this time as head coach of the 2018 Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals, according to several media outlets.
The 55-year-old, whom the Nashville Predators dismissed in January after five and a half seasons, takes over from the fired Todd Reirden after two straight seasons of playoff disappointment in Washington. Reirden recently rejoined the Pittsburgh Penguins as an assistant coach.
Laviolette, with 18 years of NHL head coaching experience, has guided three teams to the Stanley Cup final — Carolina in 2006, Philadelphia in 2010 and Nashville in 2017.
"I'm thankful and excited for the opportunity to lead this hockey club," Laviolette, the 19th head coach in Capitals history, said in a statement released by the team. "This is a winning organization with high expectations. I look forward to coaching this tremendous group of players and bringing my experience and vision to the team."
The Predators reached the Stanley Cup final three seasons ago under Laviolette's guidance, before falling in the second round the following year and failing to win their first-round playoff series last season.
Laviolette, who also has coached the U.S. at the world championships on several occasions, had a 248-143-60 record with Nashville and boasts 637 wins as an NHL coach, good for 16th on the all-time list.
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan is excited about the "wealth of experience" Laviolette brings to the team.
"We feel he is a great communicator who will motivate our players to play with passion, structure and discipline, while helping our young players reach their potential," read MacLellan's statemet in the news release. "In addition, he is a high-character individual who is highly respected for his coaching pedigree, all of which make him the ideal person to lead our team to compete for the Stanley Cup."
Laviolette will be the seventh coach since Capitals star forward Alex Ovechkin entered the NHL. Dismissing Reirden last month was an acknowledgement that the longtime assistant wasn't able to make the most out of a team built to continue contending for championships with Ovechkin, centres Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov, wingers Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie and defencemen John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov in the prime of their careers.
Ovechkin has one year left on his contract and several other top players are signed long term.