Encouraging signs from Peter Laviolette, as he trusted his team.

There were no shortage of critics in the hiring of Peter Laviolette as many, myself included, wondered if he was too “old school” for the modern NHL. Saturday night in Columbus, albeit in a loss, there were encouraging signs from Peter Laviolette, showing he is currently in touch with the modern game.

The Rangers entered the third period down 4-1 even though they had been utterly dominating the Blue Jackets. Previous Rangers coaches over the last decade would’ve gone with a sad and predictable route. Laviolette took a much different approach than we’re all used to and that’s the fact that he trusted in his youth and his skill to try and bring the club back. These are all encouraging signs from Peter Laviolette.

With a team heavy on such veteran talent, it would’ve been very easy for him to swap Chytil with Trocheck and Wheeler with Lafreniere or Kakko to try and dig the Rangers out of the hole. However, he showed trust in what needs to be the franchises future to dig the Rangers out of the hole.

It may not have worked last night, but it’s a huge plus moving forward. One thing we were used to under Alain Vigneault, David Quinn, and Gerard Gallant is the lines being thrown in the blender at the first sign of trouble and things not going according to plan. Laviolette, not only trusted his skill, but he also sat a Blake Wheeler for a long stretch of the 3rd period. Few saw that coming.

Wheeler is a pro’s pro and is someone that you know is a big presence in the room because of what he’s seen and accomplished in the NHL. For Laviolette to sit him because he wasn’t seeing what he needed from a vet of his stature is a huge showing of accountability that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done that if you want to play for this team then you need to up your level of play.

It was also nice to see a Rangers head coach not try and roll lines while chasing a three goal lead. All due respect to Goodrow-Bonino-Vesey but they’re not the guys you need to have on the ice in the 3rd period down 4-1. It was a refreshing change of pace to see a coach break a trend that has become so common for older coaches in relying on just vets in key moments. Players won’t grow and develop if they’re not trusted by their coaches in big moments.

It would’ve been very easy for Laviolette to try and juggle the lines even though the Rangers were throttling the Jackets all night and go to a more vet lineup for the third and he didn’t. Laviolette willingly choosing to stay course gives me hope that he was the correct hire to get this team over the top. It might only be game two but a small decision like this could benefit the team big time down the stretch of the season.


More About: