Rangers’ new head coach instilling intense practice atmosphere

New York Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette coaches against the Arizona Coyotes during the third period at Madison Square Garden
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are off to a hot start this season. With a 5-2-0 record, the Blueshirts are firing on all cylinders and are finding success in nearly every way possible. One of the main contributing factors towards this success is the implementation of Peter Laviolette’s new system.

As the 37th head coach in the franchise’s history, Laviolette was brought in to replace Gerard Gallant. He has provided a much-needed change to the Blueshirts, as his hands-on approach and elevated conditioning are already proving to bring a harder-working team to the ice each game.

Laviolette has the Rangers working overtime to improve their skills

When Gallant was head coach, the Rangers lacked any sign of effort or strength. The Blueshirts were slow, did not win many face-offs, and there was low physicality shown. But with Laviolette running the practices now, much of that has changed.

When the Rangers hit the ice for practice, Laviolette does not let his players off easy. These practices are longer, and harder, and the Blueshirts have to work like never before. There’s a competitive atmosphere, and sometimes the Rangers look like they just finished a full game by the time practice ends.

Hard work in practice is paying off for the Rangers

Since Laviolette has taken over behind the bench, the Rangers have seen significant improvements in their skill. Not only are the Blueshirts skating faster and working harder, but there have been statistical increases as well.

Last year, the Blueshirts finished the season with a face-off win percentage of just 49.1%. Through seven games this season, the Blueshirts have already improved that stat to 53.9%- fifth best in the NHL.

The Rangers powerplay has also been stellar this season. It has a success rate of 30.4%, also good for fifth best in the league. Laviolette is known to extensively practice special teams in his practices, and it’s clear that the hard work is paying off in that aspect as well.

Laviolette’s system will pay off in a high-intensity playoff atmosphere

If the Rangers make the playoffs this season, Laviolette’s conditioning will go a long way. Last year, New York was completely outmatched by New Jersey. The Blueshirts were nowhere near as competitive as they should have been, and that ultimately led to their downfall.

With Laviolette, that problem would likely be eradicated. His conditioning in practice is building a stronger, more competitive team. That type of energy is required to find postseason success, and the Rangers have lacked it for years. Hopefully, fans will be able to see this playoff success play out later this season.

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