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— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) June 28, 2018
Reirden has spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Capitals, primarily in charge with running the defense and the power play. He was an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins when Dan Bylsma was there and was in charge of the defense and penalty kill.
The Capitals have turned down every team’s request to interview Reirden for a head coaching job since he arrived in Washington.
Reirden, 47, replaces Barry Trotz as Capitals’ head coach. Trotz resigned as head coach of the Capitals on June 18. The team and his representative were having discussions about a contract extension after the Capitals won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Under Trotz, the Capitals won two Presidents’ Trophies, a Stanley Cup, and three division titles. A few days later, the New York Islanders hired Trotz as their head coach.
The Capitals decided not to give Trotz a contract heading into the final season of his four-year contract because the Capitals lost to the Penguins in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for two years straight despite winning the Presidents’ Trophy both of those seasons. Trotz had never coach past the second round in his 18-year coaching career before this season.
After the season, an automatic two-year extension worth $3.6 million kicked in because the Capitals won the Stanley Cup but he wanted a five-year contract extension worth $25 million to be one of the five highest-paid head coaches in the NHL. The team opted not to pay him that much and the two sides parted ways despite Trotz saying on June 13 during breakdown day that he wanted to return and was confident a deal would get done with the Capitals.
At the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who won the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy for leading the league with 49 goals, and center Nicklas Backstrom spoke out about Trotz’s resignment. Ovechkin said, “It’s sad but it’s a bussiness.,” while Backstrom said, “Something you can’t take away from Barry is what he’s done to this team. Him and the coaching staff has been doing a tremendous job to just get us together. He’s been schooling us good these four years and we got a good finish out of it. . . . Hopefully there’s no hard feelings. He’s always going to be remembered in Washington as a champion, which is great, which he deserves.”
Ovechkin also said that if Reirden got the head coaching job, “it would be fun” and that “we all respect Todd.”
By Harrison Brown