Peter Laviolette is out as head coach of the Nashville Predators.
The team announced on Monday evening that it has fired their long-time coach just one day after a tough shootout loss in Anaheim.
It also comes less than a week after general manager David Poile said a coaching change was not in his immediate plans. The Predators have yet to announce a replacement. They play tomorrow against the Boston Bruins.
Along with Laviolette, the Predators also fired associate coach Kevin McCarthy.
“Under the leadership of Peter and Kevin, our organization reached unprecedented heights – from our franchise-altering run to the Stanley Cup Final to a Presidents’ Trophy and our first two Central Division titles,” Poile said in a statement released by the team.
“Their passion for the game, ability to motivate a team and drive to be the best makes this a difficult decision. On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Peter and Kevin for all their contributions to the Nashville Predators over the past five-and-a-half seasons.”
Laviolette has been with the Predators since the start of the 2014-15 season. They made the playoffs in each of his first five years with the team, winning a Presidents’ Trophy, two division titles, and the 2016-17 Western Conference. They lost the Stanley Cup Final that year to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. The Predators were the third different team he coached to the Stanley Cup Final, joining the Carolina Hurricanes (winners in 2005-06) and Philadelphia Flyers (lost to Chicago Blackhawks in 2009-10).
The Predators were 248-143-60 during his time with the team.
He is one of just two head coaches in the Predators’ 21-year existence (Barry Trotz is the other).
The firing comes after a disappointing first half that has the Predators on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture. Entering the week they are four points back of the Calgary Flames for the second wild card spot, but do still have the luxury of having four games in hand.
It has been a weird season for the Predators because for as frustrating as it has been, there are still signs they can get back on track. Their 5-on-5 play has been very strong this season, but their special teams and goaltending have both been lousy. Those two factors have sunk them in the standings. If Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros can get back on track (which should improve the PK) things could turn around very quickly for this team in the second half. That is a big if, though.