He’s still very much a free man. But it sounds like it won’t be for much longer.
Former Washington Capitals’ head coach Barry Trotz recently told The Athletic Hockey Show that his time away from the game has been well worth it, but he’s about ready to get back into coaching.
“I feel like I’ve accomplished what I needed to accomplish,” Trotz said. “I’ve been staying on top of the league and staying refreshed. So either in the spring or next year, we’ll get back at it. Hopefully if they (an NHL team) still want me.”
It’s been nearly a year since Trotz, 60, was fired by the New York Islanders. Trotz signed with New York immediately after winning the Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018. Trotz reflected on the the 2018 run, and said he knew the Capitals were going to win the Stanley Cup in the first round of the playoffs.
“When (Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin) hit the post and we won in double overtime, I knew. I absolutely knew we were gonna win the Cup. I felt it. And there was a real calm to the rest of the playoffs for me. I knew we were gonna win the whole time. Even in the Tampa series (when the Caps blew a 2-0 lead). I was calm through the whole thing. I just knew.”
Trotz said he voiced his strong belief in the Capitals winning it all to his coaches following the game 3 win, who may not have been as confident at the time.
“We lost twice in overtime to Columbus (in the first round in 2018), then went to Game 3 and won in double overtime. I walked into our coach’s room, and I said “You know what, guys? We’re gonna win the Stanley Cup now.” True story. And all my coaches looked at me like I was an alien. “Settle down, Big Boy, we just won one game.”
Trotz feels that having that kind of strong belief and showing it to the team helped build confidence within the team. Trotz said he also tried to convey to the team that the journey was more important than the destination, and feels that may have alleviated a lot of the stress on the team.
“When you believe in something so strongly, people can see it. People can feel it. It’s a lot easier when there’s that conviction. And then our players bought in. We had fun with it. Ovi and Backstrom, they had a lot of disappointment. I was able to convey to them that great players shouldn’t be defined by a piece of silver,” said Trotz.
“I said, “Everybody wants to be Alex Ovechkin.” How many kids tie up the yellow laces, or tuck their jersey and use his stick and his mannerisms? “The impact you’ve had in your career, you’re gonna be defined as a Hall of Fame player, one of the greatest goal scorers of all time. And someone who saved hockey.” Him and (Sidney Crosby) saved hockey. So I was conveying to them that it was about the journey, not necessarily the metal, and that journey was gonna be really hard … The end is the prize. You got to say to the world, “Hey, we’ve done it.” But inside anybody who’s ever won, it’s about the journey.”
Trotz has always been one of Alex Ovechkin’s biggest public supporters. He says that hasn’t always gone over well, particularly with Canadian fans.
“I took a lot of flack when I said (Ovechkin) was the greatest goal scorer of all time when I first got there. I picked a lot of flack from north of the border. I also said I think he’s the most physical superstar that I’ve seen in a long time. Even more physical than Mark Messier,” said Trotz.
“Took a lot of flack for that. But he’s exceptional. I don’t know if you’ll see a guy like him again, because of the durability factor. Him and Sid, really, carried the game for a long time. Now, when you look at it, it’s come full circle. It’s like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
Sure, it seems easy to say you knew after the fact, but Trotz doesn’t seem like someone who plays things up like that. Pretty, honest, straight shooter. He has a ton of hockey and life wisdom.
Trotz is a very wise man.
Might be great idea for a new GM looking for good 1-2 Coaching punch,hire Bruce & Barry as Co-Coach’s! Both have similar outlooks on how to play winning hockey & wouldn’t take long to make a team a winner!
I thought Oates would be good to bring in just for the power play.
Oates was a clown. He movedt Ovie to the right side, costing Ovie many goals.
On the right side, with a right handed shot. Worse angle. Idiot.