Sportsnet recently released a well-produced five-minute video on the Washington Capitals, focusing on how the team has changed under head coach Barry Trotz. In the video, Trotz and star players talk about the broken and fragmented atmosphere left behind by (current Sportsnet analyst) Adam Oates two seasons ago.
“I think it was a big wake up call for a lot of guys who had been here before that we needed to change something in here,” Braden Holtby said. “The happy-go-lucky Caps weren’t going to cut it anymore.”
“[New management] came at the perfect time for us,” continued Holtby. “We had our ultimate lows as an organization.”
“The first thing I did when I came here was just listen,” Barry Trotz said. “They were venting about what they were frustrated about. We were a little bit broken, fragmented, and we played liked individuals. My mission was to bring us together as a team.”
And they have. The Capitals are currently the NHL’s winningest team. Las Vegas has the Caps as favorites to win the Stanley Cup. From the weird pregame routines to the group hugs on the ice, the players seem closer now than they ever have been before.
“We feel like a family atmosphere,” Evgeny Kuznetsov said. “Not like. We is family right now.”
On top of that, it appears that every player is doing all the small things to win. Sportsnet cited Barry Trotz scratching Alex Ovechkin for a game after oversleeping practice.
“Sleep at night, kid,” Trotz said to Ovechkin during a practice.
“[Now] accountability [is] through the whole line-up,” said Holtby. “And that’s how you build a culture you can trust in.”
P.S. – My favorite quote from the video is from Trotz: “No wonder I’ve lost my hair.” Also, please ignore all the puff about Alex Ovechkin finally buying in. Is there any coach for whom he did not play exactly as instructed– for good or ill? I can’t think of one?