Caps History: Steve Konowalchuk

michael banner 2

The Capitals like firsts. Before Australian Nathan Walker made some history as the first player from down under, there was a left winger from Utah that made a little history of his own. This athlete came from the days when the Capitals jerseys had an eagle across the front.  Steve Konowalchuk was selected as the Caps fifth pick (third round, 58th overall) of the 1991 NHL Draft and became the first Utah-born athlete to play in the NHL, having been born on November 11, 1972, in Salt Lake City. Continue reading “Caps History: Steve Konowalchuk”

More Coach Changes for the Capitals

As expected, the Capitals assistant coach, Lane Lambert, has followed old friend Barry Trotz to the New York Islanders. The Isles announced Thursday that they have named Lambert their next associate coach. When hired by the Capitals in 2014, he spoke about the advantages of familiarity and consistency on the coaching staff. No doubt that Barry is looking for a guy he can trust to implement his style of play. Continue reading “More Coach Changes for the Capitals”

Reirden: Right Time For the Capitals

Tuesday, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan formally introduced Todd Reirden as the newest Washington Capitals coach. The two shared some of the things they see as key elements to continue a legacy of winning. Additionally we know a few things about Todd based on his past that suggests the kind of head coach he will be for the Caps. Here are some of the things about the Caps new coach that we think may make him the right man to step in as their 18th coach.

He isn’t afraid to try new things. He wants to “create an environment to challenge the players.” He will have a clear vision up and down the lines for the players.

Reirden has a lot of coaching experience and he has been preparing for this for a long time. He was Capitals assistant/associate coach for four seasons. He also was assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins for four seasons. He was a head coach for the AHL Wilkes Barre/Scranton Pens for two years and 36 of the players he worked with went on to play in the NHL.

  • He credits Dan Bylsma and Barry Trotz for setting an example. He said he has learned much from them and will carry that with him as he establishes his own head coaching style.
  • He stepped in as acting head coach for Caps training camp in 2016 when Trotz was up in Canada for World Hockey. He knows about the grueling long hours it takes to lead a team. He is ready to do it all himself– with the help of people like Laine Forsythe and Scott Murray.

He loves developing young players into super star players and building depth for existing players. And he is good at it. Ask Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, or Michal Kempny about his influence on improving their game.

  • He is “technically sound” and as we saw in 2016, he places a great deal of importance on the team’s practice to fine tune their play.

This 2016 mic’d up video from NBCSportsDc gives us a hint of what we can expect from HC Reirden. Cool, calm, and steady at the helm.

It is rare for a team to actually win the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons. Since 1990, Pittsburgh is the first team to do that (2016 and 2017) since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. The Pens also did it in 1991 and 1992. Reirden may just be what the Capitals need to make the subtle changes that will give them the better odds for another win in 2019!

Todd Reirden New Capitals Head Coach Has A Plan

The new era for the Washington Capitals has officially begun with the Capitals hosting their first press conference with head coach Todd Reirden and General Manager Brian MacLellan (GMBM). Reirden, the former assistant coach will now take the lead, make the tough calls for the team, and be the guy meeting with the media. And he has a great first day!!

The Voice of the Capitals, John Walton first introduced GMBM who then turned the podium over to the new HC. Mac opened by saying: “We feel fortunate to have an internal candidate of of Todd’s quality” who will build on  the success they have. He sees keys  and strengths for selecting Reirden as “Development” and “Working well with defensemen” And “Communication”  He likes the way he communicates with players at all levels of their development, including “depth players”  And he is “technically sound…He is not afraid to be creative. He’s open minded to try new things.“. 

Reirden began by thanking the organization for the opportunity, including Barry Trotz for bringing him to Washington. He said: “It is an honor and privilege to be the Washington Capitals head coach.”

Reirden repeatedly said that he has a plan and a process for moving forward and to keep on winning with the team that is returning. There will be few changes to the roster; however, he is excited to take on the challenge of developing younger players as well as challenging those with years of experience. He knows that he has to treat each player as a “separate entity” and is excited about  going through the development and establishing trust in a new partnership.

The coach will have a team that is basically unchanged from the Stanley Cup winners. It is a group he knows well and who know him. The transition should be seamless; however, as with any new coach, there will be some changes. The most evident we will likely see is his emphasis on developing younger players, of which the Caps have quite a few now because of the salary cap. He has walked the walk and knows that he can “have a huge role” developing players. He has the advantage of already knowing the staff and said this of them: “I’m excited to have  Blaine Forsythe come back…and continuing to see Scott Murray, our head goalie coach.” Also stressed the important contributions  the video coaches Brett Leonhardt and Tim Ohashi who will help to prepare the team for games, as well as the coaches challenge.”

He spoke highly of Barry Trotz and said that he was one of the coaches in the past that helped shape him as the coach he will be. He said he has spoken with Trotz and that he will “take advantage of what I learned from him.”  That said, he has clearly moved on!

He even thanked the media for their support and the positive message they put out. And he THANKED YOU the fans who “Went to a completely different level this year. They never quit on us.” 

It is obvious that these two gentlemen have a lot of respect for each other. That is a key element in an organization that wants to keep on winning. There will be no taking the foot off the peddle!!

 

 

 

The Washington Capitals Have a New Coach

We have finally gotten over the surprise resignation of Coach Barry Trotz and we are excited about the next phase in Caps history with newly named coach Todd Reirden. The Capitals announced on Friday afternoon that they have inked a new contract with Reirden to promote him to head coach.

Continue reading “The Washington Capitals Have a New Coach”

With Trotz Gone, What Next?

By Dan Johnson

With Barry Trotz resigning on Monday, many Caps fans were left stunned and confused. The question I heard from many of my friends who are Caps fans is what now? Who do we get? Here is a list of possible candidates:

  1.  Todd Reirden: what seems to be the most obvious choice to many. Rierden has bided his time since arriving with the Caps in 2014. With the Caps not allowing him to interview with other teams, the line of succession was created. Reirden brings stability and experience in the organization and creates a smooth transition if the Caps decide to give him the keys to the kingdom.
  2. Sheldon Keefe: Fresh of an Calder Cup Championship with the Toronto Marlies, Keefe has come up on multiple lists including the new franchise in Seattle. He brings great experience in taking young players and developing their individual talents to help the team succeed. It may take time to develop chemistry but he is fully capable to do the job.
  3. Alain Vigneault: The former NY Rangers coach has won two Conference titles.
  4. Dan Bylsma: The Stanley Cup Champion coach is coming off a bad stint in Buffalo but has won the Cup and knows what it takes to win one.
  5. Darryl Sutter: Former L.A. Kings coach has also has won the Stanley Cup and has the experience.

We will see in the coming days where the coaching will go from here. One thing is for sure, the challenge to win back-to-back Stanley Cups is on.

Barry is Gone and We are Speechless

The Washington Capitals announced this afternoon to the shock of EVERYONE that Coach Barry Trotz had resigned. Coach has been the team’s coach and the fan’s coach. He always had time for us ladies!

img_5915

We are sure there is more to the story but we are speechless. During the playoffs we had a sense that he might leave. This has been a difficult time for his family and we think there is something very personal driving his decision.

This is what he said:

The Capitals released this statement:

Barry Trotz informed the organization today of his decision to resign as head coach of the Washington Capitals. We are obviously disappointed by Barry’s decision, but would like to thank Barry for all his efforts the past four years and for helping bring the Stanley Cup to Washington. Barry is a man of high character and integrity and we are grateful for his leadership and for all that he has done for our franchise.

Parade Coach Trotz family

We too are very thankful for the dedication Barry had for this team. He was always kind and generous with his time for the fans. He is a fine gentleman, a loving husband, and a dedicated father.

 

God bless you and your family Barry Trotz. You leave this place better than when you came and we can’t find the words to say how very very much you will be missed.

Trotz’s Take: Post LAKing Loss Comments

Following a comeback third period and OT loss to the LA Kings, Coach Trotz had these things to say:

Game Play 

I didn’t like our first 30 minutes of the game.

Needed to fix our battles: battles on the puck, the one-on-one areas, our management of it.

We were a little loose with the puck

We left them some prime chances.

Resilience

This groups is resilient. They were down three pucks and they looked it this as a challenge…and they came back.

Our group will take second half of the game and say that’s what we need to do and the way we need to play.

First Period Problems

As a coach there is nothing more than I can say. It’s gotta start with the core–They’ve got to be ready. Everybody is trying to jump on us in the first and we are letting them. That’s something we’ve got to correct.

You give up an early goal, you got to kill a  couple of penalties,  they’ve  got another one, now you are in a big hole.

We’ve got to get a better start. be more ready. Be more committed to getting off to a good start.

LA Kings

The LA Kings are not going to let you come into this building and have an easy game.

Maybe down the road when we run into each other again, it will be a good reminder for us

Bottom Line

If we play the right way, I think with our depth ,we have lots of ability. We can set the tone a lot of times and force teams to react off of us rather than the other way around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Coaches: Bruce or Barry?

Bruce Boudreau and Barry Trotz rank up there in popularity with the likes of former Washington Capitals coach Bryan Murray who holds the Caps franchise record of 672 games coached and 343 regular season wins. Both men instill a sense of pride and a desire to succeed in their teams. They are devoted family men. They are mentors to players and looked up to by fans. There is something relatable and likeable about these two men.

We had great hopes that Bruce would lead the team all the way to the cup and today we are hoping that Barry is the man who will do what Bruce couldn’t.

The comparison pretty much ends there, especially when simply looking at their career statistics. And this season one has coached his team to the top and one has fought to stay out of the bottom.

Bruce Boudreau Barry Trotz
Years Coaching 9     (5)      15        (2)
Games 644 (329) 1,196   (128)
Wins 383 (201) 557      (80)
Points 842 (442) 1,274   (174)
Playoff Games 73   (37)    50       (14)
Playoff Wins 38       (17)    19       (7)
Times No. 1 in division 7      1

(Caps Stats)

The Washington Capitals have 25 playoff appearances in the team’s 40 year history. Of the 17  coaches since 1974, its first year in the NHL, only nine coaches took the Caps to the playoffs. Barry Trotz coached Nashville for 13 years and was only able to get to the playoffs seven out of those 13 years—never going all the way. Though Boudreau coached Washington for a shorter period of time, the team made it to the playoffs every year he was at the helm. Still without lifting the cup, despite some great commercials about bringing it home.

But do these stats really matter? When you look at the coaches and the way their current teams (WAS and ANA) are playing now, we don’t think so. The coaches effect players in different ways and their styles definitely influence the way the game is played. But player’s talents vary from team to team and the Caps have had to embrace a new philosophy with Barry Trotz.

barry and kuzy
Coach Trotz: Inspiring his boys to greatness.

 

For whatever reason, the philosophy that Coach Trotz brought to Washington is one that this team, for this season, seems to be accepting and implementing. Everyone seems to agree that this team is playing differently. There is something behind the curtain to which the fans and media are not privy, but it sure seems to be working. We wish Bruce success, but when the coaches face off on Friday, it is in Barry Trotz that we put our hope.

barry and girls
Barry and FiCP writers.

 

References:

www.Hockeyreference.com

NHL.com