The Washington Capitals and Barry Trotz have at times been prickly towards each other since the Jack Adams Award-winning coach left the team in mid-June.
But the fences appear to be mended. Friday, the Capitals will honor the coach that led them to their only Stanley Cup with a tribute video. The game will be the first time Trotz has returned to Capital One Arena with his new team, the New York Islanders.
“There will be a video tribute to Coach Trotz during the game, and very well deserved, obviously,” Reirden said Wednesday during an interview with the Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan. “You can’t say enough about Barry and the impact that he had as the head coach. I wouldn’t be here in this organization if it wasn’t for Barry, so I have a ton of respect for him. But that being said, we would really like to use that as a time to respond to our little rough patch here and make sure that we’re ready to finish the final four games the right way here before the All-Star Break, so it’s an important game for us.”
Trotz resigned as head coach of the Capitals on June 18 after the team’s Stanley Cup victory automatically extended his expiring contract for another two years at $1.8 million per year. Trotz wanted to renegotiate his deal, but wanted a longer contract (five years) and more money than the Capitals were willing to pay.
The coach became only the seventh in the expansion era to leave his team after winning a championship.
On June 21, the Islanders officially named Trotz their new head coach, signing the bench boss to a five-year contract worth at least four million a year. Trotz brought goaltending coach Mitch Korn and assistant coach Lane Lambert with him to the island as well.
How did the Capitals respond? In the fall, Trotz was absent from the team’s private ring ceremony and he was not mentioned during the team’s Stanley Cup banner raising on opening night. Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis later told NHL.com he didn’t begrudge Trotz’s decision but added that “I live up to my contracts.”
Any raw feelings seemed to dissipate a month later. On November 26, the Capitals presented Trotz with his championship ring ahead of a game at Barclays Center.
“There’s such a big investment to winning and you guys made the biggest investment, and it’s worth everything,” Trotz said in a speech to the Capitals locker room. “I’ll die a happy man.
“It is going to be really hard to not like you guys, it really is, because you’re always family.”
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