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Lavy explaining hockey to a zebra
Whether it be of his own players, the other team's or league officials, Peter Laviolette is not afraid to let his feelings be known.
If Laviolette sees it necessary to bench James van Riemsdyk because he is not playing "inspired hockey," he does it.
When the coach sees a leadership issue in the locker room, he suggests to management a change in the captaincy may be in order, and management respects his opinion so much they say, "Screw it, let's just trade him."
But do not think of Laviolette as a "unify-around-hating-me" type of coach, as he has proven himself very loyal in other regards.
When a player like Andreas Nodl is doing everything he is being asked to do as hard as he can, Lavy finds a spot in the lineup for him—even if it means not dressing a more talented but less motivated scorer, say Nik Zherdev, for instance.
And Laviolette is never afraid to give it to the referees, either.
While Lavy bemoans his team's penchant for inopportune penalties, he will always take up for a player headed to the box for playing clean, aggressive hockey, even when the officials do not see it that way.
Nor does Laviolette fear letting his players be themselves.
For example, Zac Rinaldo is a tough instigator, so he lets him instigate. But not without first coming to respect his coach's idea of what exactly constitutes "crossing the line."
More than anything, Laviolette's players respect and respond to their coach's desire to win.
When players see how a coach trusts his players to make plays, sticks up for them, mixes things up to inspire the them, the players want to win for their coach, because he is doing everything he can to put his team in position to win.