Many news outlets have recently come out with their mid-season predictions. They’ve made their picks for the Veznia Trophy, Hart Trophy, Calder Trophy, and the Jack Adams Trophy. While these so-called pundits and experts have picked Braden Holtby as the hands down Veznia winner, they are passing up another valuable member of the Washington Capitals: Barry Trotz.
As we all know, Trotz has led the Capitals to an amazing turnaround in just two seasons here in our nation’s capital, with an overall record of 75-33-14. These numbers alone should be a guarantee that Trotz is a lock for the league’s top honor bestowed upon a coach.
However, it’s not the numbers alone (even though statistics are important) that should give Trotz the edge over his peers, but the intangibles that he brings to the Washington Captials.
For starters, he has taken a team that was underachieving at best and downright scared to even skate it seemed at times under the leadership of Adam Oates, and has now turned the Caps into a team that plays to the best of its abilities (and then some) and has given them a bit of a snarl, a force to be reckoned with on the blue line.
Continuing on in that vein of defense, this is a team that now holds a 10-9-2 mark this season when the Caps score 2 or fewer goals. This is a team that takes Trotz’s teachings of having a strong defense and discipline to heart.
They were hungry and ready for a change after Adam Oates was let go. Says Trotz, “They (The post-Oates Capitals) needed a road map. We needed to put accountability back in the group. They wanted direction. I came at a good time. They were ready for change.”
That change is now reflected in the Capitals, now leading the NHL with the most points, and has a commanding 14-point lead over the New York Islanders (as of this publishing), and is playing some of the best hockey the team has seen in years, if ever.
Yet, somehow, Trotz may be overlooked for the Jack Adams, again. With the amazing turnaround of the New Jersey Devils, the hot streak that has propelled the Florida Panthers to the top of the Atlantic, and the Dallas Stars shooting to the top of the Western Conference, it’s highly unlikely Trotz may get the nod again this year, despite the fact the Capitals are the front-runners for the President’s Trophy.
Of course this isn’t the first time that Trotz would be snubbed if voting for the Jack Adams happened today. In 2006-2007, he placed 4th in voting, despite his Nashville Predators having the second most points in the Western Conference that year, and in 2009-2010 he lost to Dave Tippet for this prestigious award.
While Trotz would like the accolade of being the league’s best coach, we all know he would trade all of that in for the ultimate prize: The Stanley Cup.
By Andrea Sobolik