Barry Trotz was a guest on 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning. Fresh off a win over the Canucks the night before, Trotz talked about Philipp Grubauer’s performance against Vancouver, Devante Smith-Pelly sticking up for Brooks Orpik, whether John Carlson deserves to be an All Star and more. You can catch the Sports Junkies on weekday mornings from 6-10 a.m. on the air at 106.7 FM or on TV as a simulcast on NBC Sports Washington.
On winning “Ovi-time” games, and winning squeakers:
“I think at the end of the day we’re just focused on getting into the playoffs, winning hockey games. I think the league is really good, you look at the Metro Division, there’s not much separating teams. Quite honestly, some games you’re better than others. We’ve been getting good goaltending, we haven’t played our best and it’s been on us to put a streak together.”
On Philipp Grubauer’s performance last night (Grubauer stopped 37-of-38 shots for his third win of the season):
“You gotta give him almost an A+, he was fantastic. He’s actually been great for us the last seven or eight games that he’s played. We haven’t given him a lot of goal support. I think he’s only given up one five-on-five goal in his last six games so that tells you not only about his play but also tells you a lot about our play, we haven’t given up a lot of five-on-five goals as well.”
On the penalty kill being a concern (the Capitals are third in the league in penalty minutes and are ranked 22nd on the PK):
“I think in the last three to six years are a lot different then the last couple of years, people were pointing out that our five-on-five goal differential wasn’t as great as maybe they thought it should be and our special teams were top-three or four. This year our special teams are probably in that middle range towards the bottom, so our five-on-five game has probably been much better in terms of offensively but our special teams has not really lit it up. That’s been something that our team has relied on for probably a decade now, the special teams (power play and penalty kill) was usually in the top-10 but this year we’ve been having some personnel situations on the penalty kill. I think on the backend, the metrics on the penalty kill… That has a lot to do with the youth on the backend. Not that they kill penalties but it’s put a lot more premium on John Carlson having to play heavier minutes, Brooks Orpik, (Matt) Niskanen, (Dmitry) Orlov.. I think that’s where Karl Alzner was exceptional on the penalty kill and Nate Schmidt did a good job there as well. I think it’s just a learning curve, our young defense are getting better and we’re doing it with a lot of new people in the lineup.”
On Ben Hutton’s hit on Brooks Orpik hit and Devante-Smith Pelly sticking up for his teammate:
“I think there’s a bit of respect that Brooks (Orpik) demands and gets from younger players in the room and I think they recognize what a good pro he is and how he competes. Last night, I thought he was absolutely fantastic. He had a number of shots that were coming in especially on the penalty kills and when he gets an opportunity offensively our bench just stands up, they want him to score, they want him to have success. (Hutton’s) hit was probably a clean hit but an unnecessary hit, a little extra and I think that’s what Devo (Devante Smith-Pelly) saw. Guys are playing for each other, sticking up for each other and that’s an intangible that no metric can really put a number to. That’s the value that the guys are standing up for each other, they’re taking care of each other, they’re respecting each other, they’re playing for each other and that’s something you can’t measure. As a coach and as a teammate, you love it because you know the guy next to you has got your back.”
Devante’s got your back!
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) January 10, 2018
On DSP’s fight being an example of team building:
“We do the other things to bring guys together (team building activities, like the one they did this season at the FBI headquarters) and get to know each other and all that but teams come together when you gotta stick up for each other, when you gotta go into the foxhole together… that’s when the team comes together. That’s (DSP sticking up for Orpik) a great visual of not only your team but the guy next to you who sees Devo jumping in, next time maybe something happens to Jakub Vrana, Tom Wilson or Kuzy (Evgeny Kuznetsov) or someone’s gonna fly in there and stick up for them. It becomes a part of your DNA and when that’s part of your DNA, you become a real close team, you become a tough team to play against.”
On whether he thinks John Carlson is an All Star this year:
“I think it would be criminal if he’s not in the All Star Game. I think he’s had a really exceptional year, he’s grown as a young man, the coaching staff has done a real good job with him and he’s had to step up. We had a massive hole on the backend and then we lost Niskanen for six weeks and John had to play huge minutes. When you come from playing 20 minutes a night to 31 minutes a night, it’s a huge jump especially in our game. The way the game is played out sometimes, you’re playing back-to-back penalty kills, you’re playing against top guys… you get worn out pretty good. A lot of credit goes to John, he keeps growing his game. You look at his stats, he’s among the league leaders and we’re at the top of our division where I don’t think a lot of people thought we would be. I hope he gets the nod, he deserves it, it’s his time and I hope the NHL sees it that way.”
On Carlson’s odd goal scored last night:
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 10, 2018
“In real time from the bench I thought it wasn’t a goal but we got the luxury of having monitors right in the bench and as soon as I saw it I said ‘that’s a good goal’. If the net is leaning forward and hasn’t come off it’s pegs and if he (Michael Del Zotto) let the net fall forward on the ice, obviously it would’ve been no goal. If he pushes that net off it’s pegs, it’s an automatic penalty for them. I think you just try to do the right thing and hold the net up so it doesn’t fall on the goalie.”
You can listen to the full interview here.
By Michael Marzzacco