Photo: NBC Sports Washington
When New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz entered the visiting tunnel prior to their game with the Washington Capitals on Friday evening for the first time after winning the Stanley Cup with the Capitals, I wanted to try to give him some appreciation for all that he’s done with the team. It was the least I could do after he left on less than great terms after delivering a championship.
My dad and I had finished a “thank you” sign for Trotz for all he had done during his four-year tenure with the Capitals after school on Friday. We included the Capitals’ logo and a few pictures of him raising the Stanley Cup after Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights.
After I saw that he opted to stay in the dressing room for warm-ups, I put my fist out to give him a fist bump when he led his coaching staff onto the Islanders’ bench but he didn’t see it at first.
After the first period, I put our sign on the glass between my seat and the visitor’s bench to see if Trotz would see it this time and I put my fist out again as a sign of appreciation. He saw it that time and gave me a fist bump while saying “thank you” on the other side of the glass.
Once the Islanders left the ice and went into the dressing room, my dad and I went to take a break and grab some water. When I returned for the start of the second period, I saw a folded game sheet with Trotz’s autograph on my seat.
When I looked at the tunnel, I saw Trotz was standing there again and thanked him for the autograph. He just nodded at me as he was getting set to lead his staff onto the bench for the second period.
When the second intermission came, my dad and I stayed in our seats. As Trotz was coming back to the bench, he stopped by my seat again and handed me another game sheet, though it was unautographed. Since he gave it to me, I decided to look at it and tried to see what the Capitals need to do better at in addition to each player’s ice time.
I was disappointed after the game seeing the Capitals lose but instead of walking out immediately like my dad and I normally do after a loss, I waited until Trotz exited the bench to give him a fist bump him one more time. When he saw I had put my fist out, he decided to shake my hand instead. I congratulated him on the win and thanked him once again for the game sheets. He thanked me for the sign before heading back to the dressing room.
Handshakes for Caps fans on his way out. pic.twitter.com/QBOOzVK17p
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) January 19, 2019
After the game, my dad wanted to wait until Capital One Arena cleared out before circling around the 100 level to get to the parking garage so we stayed in our seats as one of my friends came over to say hello in addition to some Islanders fans and Trotz’s family, who still live in Washington, so we decided to stay longer than expected.
After a few minutes, Trotz came out to greet his family before he had to go back down the tunnel for his postgame press conference.
I can’t remember the last time I was smiling coming home after a loss.
By Harrison Brown