A year after being fired by the Boston Bruins, Coach Bruce Cassidy has won a Stanley Cup with the Vegas Golden Knights. On Tuesday, Cassidy started Vegas’ 2017-18 first line of Reilly Smith-William Karlsson-Jonathan Marchessault with Shea Theodore and Alec Martinez in the series-clinching Game 5. One misfit didn’t start their 9-3 victory over the Florida Panthers.
It was William Carrier. Cassidy apologized to him before the game. He said he could only start one left winger. Still, it showed how much Cassidy understands the history of the game. The poetic act showed how much Cassidy understands the history of the game.
It showed his affection for his players. Great coaches don’t only connect with their players on the ice. They do so off of it too. That’s something Peter Laviolette does exceptionally well.
During his 2005-06 championship season in Carolina, Laviolette wanted to capture memories of the team’s road trips and events. So, he gave rookie forward Chad Larose a camera to document these moments. The players were not interested. But Larose took some photos anyways. Then, Laviolette used the photos to create a video, which reminded the team of their togetherness and inspired them to play for each other during the playoffs.
After he was hired in the Summer of 2018, David Quinn traveled to Finland to meet with Kaapo Kakko. Yet players complained that they felt he got too personal at times. He was ousted in 2021 after three years on Broadway.
They said the opposite about Gallant. His business-only approach was initially refreshing in the locker room. But eventually, you’re going to need an emotional boost at some point. They didn’t see it in Gallant.
Laviolette has the reputation of being in the middle. Away from the rink, he’s a fun person to be around. But when it comes to hockey, there’s a no-nonsense way about him. It’s how he coached the 1998-99 Providence Bruins to a Calder Cup in the AHL while winning the Coach of the Year Award. It’s how he spearheaded young groups such as the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and the 2017 Nashville Predators to unexpected Stanley Cup Final runs.
“We got off to a (bad) start,” Dan Carcillo of the 2010 Flyers told the Athletic.
“There are consequences when that sort of stuff happens. Then Lavy came in, and he was this talker, this slick guy. I liked that he thought we had the potential to play high energy and fast, and with guys like Pronger and Kimmo (Timonen), we had a really great veteran core. Even though Richie and Carts were young, they were proven winners. ”
“He’s a great motivator, a great talker. And, you know, I think he captivated that whole dressing room just to believe that we’re all family, that we’re all in this together.” Carcillo’s teammate Scott Hartnell added.
It works well for Alexis Lafreniere, one of the players to request Gallant be canned, according to the Athletic. It likely means his kid-linemates in Kakko and Filip Chytil shared the same sentiment. It works well for Artemi Panarin. The winger, who mysteriously went bald this week, has a coach that’ll push him to his $11.6 million self again.
“Coaches will be exposed as frauds if you’re not who you say you are,” Hurricanes goaltender from that championship year, Cam Ward, told the New York Post. “Lavvy lives what he says. He holds himself to the same standard he holds his players to.” That standard is excellence.
But how to consistently reach that standard is where a coach separates himself from the others. Laviolette has been doing this for 22 years, and his style is considered one of the best in the business.