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Laviolette addresses the Ville Leino punch to the head incident, clears the air

7 décembre 2019
In a story that surfaced on Friday, complete with video evidence to prove it, the hockey world was focused on Peter Laviolette punching forward Ville Leino on the bench during their time together in Philadelphia.


The incident occurred in February of 2011, but Leino didn't consider the punch an issue at the time, but he does believe that situations like that should not happen. Laviolette apologized multiple times following the conclusion of the game, but even though the situation was brought on by pure emotion, coaches need to maintain control and mind their actions.

“There are lot of emotions in the game,” Leino said in an interview with ESPN. “Coaches get fired up and things happen. I don’t think Peter tried to hit me, and it looks worse in the video than it was. Peter was a very passionate and emotional coach. That made him good, but sometimes stuff like this happened. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t happen.”

Laviolette had a chance to address the matter with The Athletic's Adam Vingan. Here's what he had to say:

“First was a suggestion that I used my position of power inside of a locker room to bully or ask players or challenge players to go out there and fight. That couldn’t be anything further from the truth. Do I want my teams to play hard? Yes. Do I want them to be physical? Yes. Is there fighting in the game? Yes. But there’s an insinuation that I would challenge players to go out there and do that. That is not true.

Secondly, there’s an article that came out (Friday) that was brought to my attention about punching Ville Leino in the head. In the scope of where we are right now in today’s world with regard to coaches, I can tell you that physical abuse from me is the furthest thing from the truth. That Ville Leino video clip and the GIF that shows me nicking his helmet and his helmet bobbing up and down over and over again, you can interpret it a whole bunch of different ways. For me, I had called a timeout. I was trying to get my team motivated, and I went to punch my fist into my hand. I nicked the back of his helmet, and by no means was it meant as any physical abuse, nor have I ever had any physical abuse with the players.

For the longest time, I thought it was funny watching the GIF play over and over again, knowing that it couldn’t be the furthest thing from the truth. Now that I’ve heard that there’s an article that’s talked about it, and it’s kind of been lumped in with what’s going on, I just wanted to get ahead of that. Ville Leino said that I apologized to him. I can’t even remember addressing it. If I did, that’s great, because it was something that was accidental at the time where I missed my hand and nicked his helmet. But I just wanted to get in front of these things, because I think both statements are incorrect.

It’s obviously a really hot topic right now, and I can’t even pretend to comment on any situation that I’ve not been a part of. The reason why I’m commenting on these ones is because I know myself and I know how I’ve handled myself for almost 20 years as a coach. I would rather just get in front of it. … If people really thought that I was punching somebody in the head, then that would’ve come forward a long time ago.”


It's really anyone's guess as to if the NHL will look at this more closely or if both the League and the Preds will take this at face value and see the merit in the words that Laviolette spoke. With the current focus on abuse from coaches in the game, it really could go either way.

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