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Former players have good words for Laviolette

Saturday, 12.05.2009 / 6:58 PM / NHL Insider

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The announcement by Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren on Friday night that Peter Laviolette would replace John Stevens as coach of the team was a hot topic of discussion throughout the League some 15 hours later.

That was especially true among a few former players of Laviolette's now starring in Detroit and New Jersey. The Devils and Red Wings play at Prudential Center on Saturday.

Detroit's Patrick Eaves spent two seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes before signing with the Red Wings last August. He was coached by Laviolette for the entire 2007-08 season and played 25 games him in 2008-09 before Laviolette was replaced by current Carolina coach Paul Maurice.

"Lavie is a very organized, very detailed coach, and he'll have those guys ready to play every night," Eaves told NHL.com. "He puts teams out on the ice who are hard to play against. I obviously don't know the full situation in Philadelphia, but he takes a very hands-on approach.

"The ducks will be in a row the minute he steps in there."

Internationally, Laviolette coached Team USA at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, and was also head coach for Team USA at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in 2004 and 2005, guiding the U.S. to the bronze medal in 2004.

New Jersey's Brian Rolston had Laviolette as an assistant in Boston in 2000-01 at a time when Mike Keenan was coaching the Bruins. He also played for Laviolette on Team USA in the 2006 Olympics.
"Lavie is a very organized, very detailed coach, and he'll have those guys ready to play every night.  He puts teams out on the ice who are hard to play against.  The ducks will be in a row the minute he steps in there." -- Patrick Eaves

"He was always a captain as a player and, from what I know of him as a coach, he always had his team prepared and I thought he was a good coach," Rolston said. "I'm happy he's being given another chance. Players can really relate to him because he played for a lot of years in the minors and played in the (American Hockey League). And he represented his country, so the guys really respected him."

Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski was a member of that U.S. team in '06 that finished eighth in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

"He's very well prepared and has a group of systems that he installs," Rafalski recalled. "He certainly gets the player to play. He was successful in Carolina for a while and he studies the game and knows it well.

"The thing is, I didn't really get to know him because, in the Olympics, it's not so much hands-on since we're there for a short time. It was a different situation for me, but he was a good coach for the time I had him."

Contact Mike Morreale at mmorreale@nhl.com









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