Barry Trotz won a Stanley Cup last season with the Washington Capitals, getting his team past the second round of the playoffs for the first time in the Alex Ovechkin era. But that’s where a lot of the fuzzy memories end.
Trotz resigned from the team afterwards in search of more money, and signed a five-year deal with the New York Islanders, joining Lou Lamoriello on Long Island.
Despite winning back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies with the Capitals, Trotz did not get an extension before the season last year and was a lame-duck coach. Trotz was almost fired twice during the regular season. After defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the playoffs, the coach told John Tortorella “I’m gone. I’m gone. I’m not coming back.”
Since then, the Capitals have minimized Trotz, not featuring the coach or mentioning his name during the team’s banner-raising night. The team will, however, present Trotz, Islanders’ associate coach Lane Lambert, and goaltending coach Mitch Korn with championship rings before Monday’s game.
Sunday, after beating the Hurricanes 4-1, Trotz talked about his reunion game against the Capitals.
Trotz’s comments begin at the 3:01 mark of the video.
What do you think the reunion is going to be like against the Washington Capitals?
Barry Trotz: You’re sort of trying to win the Stanley Cup since you’re seven-years-old. I did it with a terrific organization and a terrific bunch of young men and young athletes. I’ve become very close to him. They’ll always be very special.
It’ll be awkward a little bit. Just a little bit weird because there’s so many good memories.
I’ll get to see everybody from the trainers that you’ve been real good friends with, and Mac, the coaching staff, and the players. They only have a couple of new guys. That whole team is pretty much back and they’re missing a few pieces right now with injuries. But that’s a tremendous group of young men and a good organization that I was a part of that I did something great with them. It’ll be a little different. It’ll probably feel more normal because it’s a game right here in my new hometown.
In the other ones when I’ve gone to like Nashville for the first time, I was in Nashville. I had a lot of friends that were past the (inner) sanctum of the group. So I think it’ll feel more normal because it’s the second time through this now. Every time I go through Nashville it’s further in the rear view mirror. We just have to collect points. To me, it’s going to be fantastic to see some great people that I got to work with for a long time, but we need points – plain and simple. We were able to jump over the team we played tonight. We need to keep looking up. The view doesn’t change unless you’re at the top. So we’ll see if we can change a couple of views here.
Have you adjusted to being the coach of the Islanders?
Barry Trotz: I’m still adjusting. If I deviate from going to the rink or I take to the wrong train, I’m going to miss a game here. It takes some time. I’ve just been focused on just the day-to-day stuff. My family just moved. Just recently, we’ve got boxes. I hope the recycling people come soon so I can open up my garage and take everything out. Every where we’ve gone, we try to make it home. The Island, every day it goes by, it gets more and more comfortable. It was no different when I went to Washington the first couple months. I got to meet my neighbors, but I haven’t sat down and had them over because we didn’t have furniture for a long time. As we get some furniture, we’ll start to meet our neighbors and it’ll feel like the community I know that it is like it was in Washington. I had the same in Nashville and I expect the same in Long Island here.
Trotz also spoke to the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan and addressed the “I’m gone” comments and his leaving in general.
Trotz called his comments to Tortorella “sort of tongue-in-cheek” and that his decision to resign “became business.” Trotz called his relationship with Todd Reirden “professional,” which does not read as an enthusiastic answer. Finally, Trotz said that the Capitals’ willingness to accept his resignation hurt, but it depends on the day and his mood. Trotz received an automatic extension after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup, but resigned after the team would not match his demands.
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