Peter Laviolette has earned quite a few wins during his career. On Sunday in Minnesota, he did something only 24 before him have ever accomplished in the League's 100-year history.
The Nashville Predators head coach recorded his 500th career victory, becoming the 25th coach in the NHL's history to accomplish the feat. The Franklin, Massachusetts, native is also second in all-time victories for a U.S.-born coach, trailing only John Tortorella.
Now in his third season with the Preds, Laviolette went to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final with Philadelphia and won it all with Carolina in 2006.
It's impossible to reach the 500-win milestone without being better than most at your chosen craft. Laviolette certainly fits the bill.
"Ever since I got here, Lavi has been nothing but great to me," forward Austin Watson said. "He's honest with you. I think as a player, that's all you can ask for is a coach that tells it like it is. He's so great behind the bench, he's a great motivator and really good at getting us going."
Someone who knows Laviolette's honesty and has earned his trust is defenseman Matt Irwin, who started the season in the AHL before becoming a mainstay on the Nashville blue line.
"He's been unbelievable," Irwin said of Laviolette. "He's very structured, very motivational, gets the guys going before the games, and that's just a great accomplishment."
The evolution of Filip Forsberg's game over the past three seasons has been thanks in part to the instruction received from Laviolette, helping to take the Swede from good to great.
"The first time I met him, I remember the way he talked and got the group to listen to him," Forsberg said. "I thought that was kind of an eye opener for me, just to see that authority and the way he could really fire the guys up. That's been a big part of this team the last three years."
From win No. 1 at the helm of the New York Islanders back in 2002 to a milestone night with Nashville, it's been quite a journey from Olympic defenseman to NHL bench boss. And Laviolette's record speaks for itself.
"With 500 wins, it just goes to show what a great job he's done in his career," Watson said. "He's a great coach."