A day after news was published that Brian MacLellan’s end-of-the-season press conference had been pushed back, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wrote about the Capitals in detail in his latest 30 Thoughts column.
Friedman reported that Barry Trotz’s future “isn’t secure” and that the Canadian coach only has one year remaining on his contract with the Capitals. Friedman also wrote about the rest of the team’s coaching staff murky future as well.
6. Incredibly, Barry Trotz’s future isn’t secure. (One GM, hearing that, texted, “This league is a joke if [that’s] real.”) The surest predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. Trotz said all the right things about Ovechkin accepting a move to the third line, but check Washington’s history. Dale Hunter didn’t return after demoting Ovechkin in 2012. Adam Oates faced pushback when he moved the captain into unfamiliar positions, and a harsh team meeting late in the 2013–14 season (where Ovechkin was ripped by several teammates) caused significant problems before a coaching change.
Washington played two fantastic games after Trotz’s juggling. There is no doubt in my mind that one of the questions the organization is asking is, “What if our coach feels that’s our best chance of winning?” The history is not to support that. Trotz has one year remaining on his contract.
7. Trotz isn’t the only Washington coach with a cloudy future. Assistant Lane Lambert went deep into the process with Colorado before Jared Bednar was hired. Assistant Todd Reirden, a finalist in Calgary last year, is expected to be interviewed by both Buffalo and Florida. And there are rumours goaltending guru Mitch Korn would like to retire. It’s possible Scott Murray, who works with AHL Hershey and is a Korn disciple, replaces him. (He interviewed in Toronto two years ago, when Steve Briere got that job.) Those could be significant changes.
We also learn in Friedman’s column that Braden Holtby, according to a fellow NHL goaltending coach, “has a slight ‘hitch’ on his glove hand that the Penguins were able to exploit early in their series.” A NHL goalie added that “[t]he goals early in the Pittsburgh series were Grade-A chances” and that Holtby “will be fine” longterm.
Finally, Friedman shared a quote from Evgeny Kuznetsov when he was asked Nikita Kucherov’s contract battle with Tampa Bay at the World Cup of Hockey.