The Washington Capitals are on the cusp of doing something no Capitals team has done in their 44-year history: win the Stanley Cup. With their win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday they are now just one win away. Before the Capitals flew off to Sin City on Tuesday, Barry Trotz talked to reporters via a conference call.
This is only Trotz’s fourth season in Washington but he is no stranger to the DMV. Trotz coached the Capitals then-AHL affiliate Baltimore Skipjacks in 1992. That was the year of the last major sports championship in D.C. when the Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills to capture Super Bowl XXVI. He knows how long this city, and the fans have been starving for a championship.
“This area has had a passion about sports and hasn’t had a championship in a long time. You see the enthusiasm in the city, you see the thousands of people outside the arena watching the game. I just think it would mean a lot to the community, mean a lot to me personally, and I know it would mean a lot to the players,” said Trotz.
“A lot of the players have made this area home, a lot of the players have been here for a while. The fans have been loyal through thick and thin. Obviously this whole area, it would revitalize the city if we can win the fourth game and revitalize the sports community.”
Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals is in two days, on Thursday night. Given that time in between games, Trotz said doesn’t think there’s any rust. The Capitals are about to play in their 106th game Thursday night (regular season and playoffs). The team will hold a practice on Wednesday.
“It’s more about rest and recovery than it is rust,” said Trotz.
The excitement in the streets has been unreal the last few weeks and Monday was the best atmosphere as the fans can sniff a championship. It’s human nature to be excited about the opportunity. Trotz talked about his message to the players on focusing on Game 5.
Message to the players on focusing on the task at hand: “We’re going to talk about the process. The process is we’ve got to win one more game. We have to focus on the one game, put complete effort and focus into that.”
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) June 5, 2018
“We’re going to talk about the process. The process is that we’ve got to win one game, plain and simple. It’s starts with just focusing on the one game. That one game is in Vegas, Game 5, and put your complete effort, your complete focus into that and the result will be there. If it’s not then you’ve got to move on,” Trotz said.
“You have to just focus on the one game and it’s the next one. It’s not three games, or whatever, because we have a cushion. There’s no cushion.”
With Vegas on the brink of ending their magical inaugural season, they will refuse to roll over in front of their home crowd. Despite losing Game 4 by four goals, Vegas still had a strong performance outshooting the Capitals 30-23.
“I think Vegas, you saw a really strong game last night I thought especially early. We were able to sustain their surge. We took the game over in the back half of the first and then they started coming in the second a little bit. We mismanaged stuff but Vegas, they’re going to have to do the same thing. They’re a quick start team. We’re going to have to be ready for that. If we’re ready for that and we’re able to win the first period and then worry about the next shift.. It’s the shift-to-shift mentality,” said Trotz.
“This group is pretty grounded. I’m just going to talk to them about making sure that we’re focused on that and our people here are doing a good job of keeping their distractions away from them.”
Trotz was asked if there is any danger of his team wanting to rather win Game 6 in D.C. in front of the Capitals fans than winning Game 5 in Vegas.
“Zero chance of that. We just want to win the next game. There’s no placing a ‘do it at home’, we just want to do it. That’s the message. Doesn’t matter where you get it done, we just want to get it done,” said Trotz.
By Michael Marzzacco