Amid a tense head coaching environment in the NHL, one former player turned advocate for mental health and addiction recovery had thoughts on what it was like playing for Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette.

Daniel Carcillo, who played wing in the NHL for nine years, went on The Neutral Zone on Wednesday evening to talk about, among other things, the recent explosive allegations made against Bill Peters, Marc Crawford, and Mike Babcock. In the context of difficult coaching styles, Carcillo noted that Peter Laviolette could be an “annoying” coach to play for.

“I mean, he was ok. There were a lot of things that annoyed me about him. He was one of the guys that liked to be the ‘rah rah’ guy, send you out to fight when you know that he never fought.”

Carcillo played for Laviolette when he was with the Philadelphia Flyers between 2009 and 2011. He was part of the Flyers’ Stanley Cup run in 2010, being mostly used as a physical presence on the bottom six. He racked up 194 hits in the regular season and 38 hits in the playoffs that season, both of which were career highs.

“There’s a lot of stuff I don’t agree with what he did, his coaching method. But that was his prerogative, you know.”

When asked if he’s seen any change in Peter Laviolette’s coaching style, Carcillo admitted that he “doesn’t even watch hockey” anymore as part of his recovery from addiction and embrace of mental health improvement. But he also mentioned that if Laviolette had changed his coaching style, that would be a good thing.

“I’m glad that you guys have maybe seen a change,” Carcillo said.

The comments about being “sent out to fight” are interesting given that Carcillo made his reputation as a fighter early on in his career. Being typecast as the physical presence and the “instigator” no doubt had an influence on how he was deployed by coaches in the NHL.

Carcillo’s thoughts seem to suggest that players like him didn’t necessarily want to be used only as instigators, especially given the relative danger associated with that role, but coaches like Laviolette would send them out to fight anyway.

Laviolette is hardly the only coach to use Carcillo and other similar players in this way, but it does bring up questions about how coaches can affect players’ futures. Carcillo has been very outspoken about head injuries and brain trauma in the NHL, and also about how his use a fighter had a profound impact on his addiction issues and mental health.

Click here to listen to the full interview with Daniel Carcillo (starts at around the 30 minute mark) including his thoughts on the NHL’s issue with protecting players, rampant abuse by coaches in the world of hockey, and his hope for the future of the sport.

— Featured image via Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports —

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