By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Nashville Predators have hired Peter Laviolette, who becomes only the second head coach in the franchise's history.
The Predators announced the move Tuesday. They team also announced Kevin McCarthy has been hired as an assistant on Laviolette's staff.
"Having reached the peak as a Stanley Cup Champion, Peter knows the intensity and urgency it will take to help our team reach its ultimate goal," general manager David Poile said. "He is a great hockey mind who not only has a winning resume, but has done it with an aggressive offensive philosophy while also excelling in helping young players reach their potential.
Laviolette, who signed a multi-year contract, will take over in Nashville once he finishes coaching the United States at the 2014 World Championship. He coached Carolina to a Stanley Cup in 2006 and took Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup finals in 2010. He was fired in October after the Flyers lost their first three games of the season.
Laviolette said in a statement he loves the Predators' nucleus starting with defenseman Shea Weber and goaltender Pekka Rinne.
"My challenge will be to impart a system that enables our young forwards to thrive and reach their offensive potential," Laviolette said. "Being a perennial Stanley Cup contender requires buy-in, passion and commitment from every player on the roster. I can't wait to get to Nashville and get started on our journey."
Laviolette has been a head coach over 12 seasons starting with the New York Islanders between 2001 and 2003, Carolina from 2003-09 and Philadelphia from 2009 until October. He has 389 wins and 866 career points. He has taken teams to six playoff berths, winning nine series. He helped the Islanders end a seven-year postseason drought with back-to-back berths in 2002 and 2003, and the Flyers lost the cup to Chicago in six games in 2010.
He is considered an offensive-minded coach with his teams finishing in the Top 10 in six of his eight full seasons and not lower than 13th in goals scored. That helps fill a major need for the Predators who scored only 216 goals this season when they finished three points out of the final Western Conference playoff berth.
McCarthy will join assistant coaches Phil Housley and Lane Lambert. They worked with Barry Trotz, the only other coach for this franchise. The Predators announced April 14 that they would not bring Trotz back.
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