Holmgren, the general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, was calling Laviolette, the team's coach, to inform him that Claude Giroux, the team's captain and best player, had injured his hand playing golf and required corrective surgery on his right index finger.
"You are ready for the season to start and you get that call," Laviolette told NHL.com on Monday. "It drops a bomb on you and there is a pit in your stomach right away."
Laviolette, in town for his role as an assistant coach at the 2013 U.S. Men's National Team Camp, is used to dealing with injuries to key players. As coach of the Flyers, he has dealt with his fair share of injuries, but this one caught him completely off guard.
"It was to the point where you are moving along in the summer and you are checking in with the players and finding out that everybody is healthy and the free agents all good," Laviolette told NHL.com.
Immediately, he went about reassuring himself that he would have Giroux back sooner, rather than later. Eventually, he reached out to Giroux himself.
"The first words out of his mouth were, 'This won't slow me down,'" he said. "And I truly believe that. It happened, it has time to heal, and it won't get in the way of any games and he'll do exactly what he said, which is it won't slow him down."
Golfing near his off-season home in Ottawa, Giroux cut four tendons on his right index finger after his club shattered while he took a shot. He required emergency surgery and was told he could miss four to six weeks, would make him healthy right before the start of the season. However, Giroux believes he can be back in as little as three weeks.
To speed his rehabilitation, Giroux decided to pass on an invitation to the camp Canada is holding this week in Calgary for its Olympic hopefuls. Giroux was one of 47 players invited.
Laviolette is still processing the randomness of it all as he prepares for the Flyers' training camp, which opens in a little bit more than two weeks.
"It's crazy man. If you start taking out everything [dangerous], we'll just be wrapped in bubble wrap and sleeping at the rink I guess, right," he said, adding a chuckle.