Although the word never actually came up in Peter Laviolette’s appearance at the Music City Sports Festival, the word “jam” is something that many in the hockey world have come to associate with the new head coach of the Nashville Predators. While Laviolette was still with the Philadelphia Flyers, a scene from HBO’s 24/7 showed a passionate coach trying to amp up his players and telling them to “play with some jam.” You can watch the video here (warning: adult language).
During the appearance, the crowd ate up every mention of the word “offense.” They applauded and cheered the talk of scoring more goals and playing a game focused more on possession in the offensive zone. The crowd was passionate. They were ready for some jam.
“I wanted to play the game moving forward,” said Laviolette. “I want to play it fast and I want to play it with the puck.”
This is a far change from what many considered a defense-first approach by former head coach Barry Trotz. Laviolette did make sure to comment about being responsible with the puck as well.
“I don’t want to do it in a reckless manner,” eluded Laviolette in talking about how he wants to play the game. “You try to establish an identity and how your team wants to be perceived. Many championships have been won all types of ways. My thought process on the game and the style that I decided early on that I wanted to play is that I’d rather play with the puck. And I would rather play somewhere else other than my end. It’s a style that I’m accustomed to and something that I’m looking forward to bring here to Nashville.”
To this, the crowd rejoiced. Peter Laviolette is known for squeezing as much offense out of players as possible. As head coach of Team USA during the World Championships, Laviolette had the opportunity to coach Seth Jones and Craig Smith. In doing so, Laviolette was given a glimpse of the potential of a player like Smith.
“There’s nothing that he does on the ice that you don’t like,” said Laviolette on Smith. “He plays the game with a tenacious attack to it. He constantly wants the puck. He works for the puck. When he gets the puck, he wants to be an effective offensive player and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
The passion that was squeezed out of Smith in the World Championships under Laviolette is something that has been known for some time. New assistant coach Kevin McCarthy has been with Laviolette since his days in Carolina and was also present at the event. He spoke about Laviolette’s passion for the game and holds him and the way he coaches in high regard.
“One of the first things I learned about [Laviolette] was his passion; passion for the game, passion for what it takes to have success as a team,” said McCarthy. “There was never anything that wasn’t thought about. That was one thing I was really impressed with.”
Is this the “jam” that Peter Laviolette has spoken about before? Is playing with “jam” playing with passion? Either way, the fans were certainly excited with everything that was presented on Sunday. Having the sense of excitement and the possibility to see more dynamic play out of the Nashville forwards will get the crowd to their feet and even more butts in the seats this fall.
If you want to see the full media scrum, you can view it below. We also analyzed the challenges that Peter Laviolette will face in our latest show.