The Barry Trotz Influence: We Are Family

(Photo: Sports Illustrated)

With the arrival of Barry Trotz last summer, the Washington Capitals became a different organization.  There was a new vision brought in by the new Capitals bench boss.  This new vision brought many elements into the Capitals organization that they had lacked in previous seasons.

Barry Trotz came from Nashville in high regard as he was their organization’s first Head Coach in franchise history.  He was there for 15 seasons and he took their organization to many high levels of success.  While he did not win the Stanley Cup in Nashville, he is a major reason why the Predators organization was able to attain a lot of success in a short amount of time.

Trotz’s vision in Nashville has carried into the start of his tenure in Washington.  So what are some of the things that Trotz has brought to the Capitals?  What makes Barry Trotz a very unique NHL Head Coach?

Here is a list of things that Barry Trotz has brought to the Washington Capitals:

Family Atmosphere
There is no doubt Trotz’s “Family Atmosphere” message has rubbed off on the Capitals.  On the ice, the Capitals have adopted the “gang mentality.”  The Capitals have a better response in large scrums and everyone gets involved a little bit more.  A few examples are provided in the following game clips.

Work Ethic and Doing the Little Things Right
The Capitals saw an emergence of young stud Evgeny Kuznetsov as the season progressed.  Kuznetsov struggled to find his role early on, but eventually emerged as the Capitals second line centre late in the season.  Kuznetsov worked on his puck control and he got better protecting the puck as the season went along.  Barry Trotz has emphasized doing the little things right in order to have success as a player and as a group.

On this next play, the Capitals heavy forecheck causes two turnovers, which leads to two quick goals against the Los Angeles Kings.

Barry Trotz has helped given the Capitals a “tough” identity.  The Capitals used to play a more wide open style of game under former coaches Bruce Boudreau and Adam Oates.  Now, they are playing a tougher, grittier, and a more stifling brand of hockey.

This new found toughness was evident in the Capitals last two playoff series against the NY Islanders and NY Rangers.

Barry Trotz knows how to deploy and utilize a big tough winger like Tom Wilson.  Wilson is an explosive player that can make things happen on the ice.  Whether he lays a big hit or gets into a fight, he is permitted by Barry Trotz to light a fire for the Capitals with his physical play.

Toughness can also come in the form of sacrificing your body for the betterment of the team.  This is something that is not looked at and appreciated enough.  Brooks Orpik is a guy that has also brought this toughness to Washington.

Barry Trotz: A True Role Model
Barry Trotz is one of the most respected coaches around the NHL.  What he has shown is that he truly respects the game of hockey.  He is a players’ coach and a true family man.

The Washington Capitals are now a tight-knit group, which is something they were questioned about in their recent seasons.  This group has tremendous chemistry with each other and it shows on the ice.

Barry Trotz has brought a new direction to a club that was once haunted by no direction.  The Capitals are now built and structured to win a Stanley Cup.  They are on the right track and playing the right brand of hockey.  This team is on the road to great success and any Capitals fans should be excited for the immediate future.

By George Foussekis


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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