Trotz in talks with Cap­i­tals on ex­tend­ing his con­tract

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY ADAM ZIELONKA

Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals coach Barry Trotz told the crowd at Tues­day’s Stan­ley Cup pa­rade that “we’re gonna do it again” next year. If that was only an im­pli­ca­tion of his de­sire to re­turn to the team, his com­ments Wed­nes­day made it clear.

Trotz told re­porters Wed­nes­day that he wants to re­turn as head coach of the team, and he is talk­ing with gen­eral man­ager Brian MacLel­lan about a con­tract ex­ten­sion.

“There’s some things that we have to work out,” Trotz said. “I’ve talked to Mac. If we can get them worked out, then there’s no ques­tion. I love the group of guys. I love the sit­u­a­tion I’m in with the team, the lo­ca­tion for my son and my wife and all that. So all that’s in place. There’s some is­sues that we’ve got to just work through, and we will and we’ll go from there.”

Trotz, 55, has coached the Cap­i­tals since 2014 after 15 sea­sons with the Nashville Preda­tors. His con­tract ex­pires on June 30, and if no ex­ten­sion or new deal is reached by then, Trotz would be­come a free agent.

MacLel­lan wouldn’t say whether he was con­fi­dent a deal would be reached, but con­firmed that the two sides were go­ing to try.

“I talked to Barry this morn­ing. I’ll talk to own­er­ship over the next week or so and we’ll con­tinue to dis­cuss ev­ery­thing and see where it goes,” MacLel­lan said.

At the Cap­i­tals’ “break­down day” on Wed­nes­day, also ca­su­ally known as “locker cleanout day,” play­ers

chimed in that they wanted Trotz back, start­ing with the cap­tain.

“Yeah, why not? Why wouldn’t you?” Alex Ovechkin said.

Others talked about Trotz the man as well as Trotz the coach. Tom Wil­son called him “first and fore­most a great per­son.”

“He changed this team with a fam­ily men­tal­ity,” Wil­son said. “I have no idea what is go­ing to hap­pen. I don’t re­ally look much into that. I’d play for him 100 per­cent.”

“Barry was the right coach for this group,” Matt Niska­nen added. “Barry is a real solid hu­man be­ing, just a great dude. The things that he preaches turn out to be re­ally im­por­tant. It worked for our group. He’s a heck of a coach, fun to play for, I think every­one has a ton of re­spect for him.”

Trotz had an im­pact on every player down the ros­ter. When Alex Chi­as­son was a free agent last off­sea­son, he had some con­ver­sa­tions with Trotz that led him to buy into the team. The Cap­i­tals are Chi­as­son’s fourth team in the last six years.

“He’s helped me gain con­fi­dence, and every player is gonna say, when you’re play­ing with con­fi­dence you’re gonna be a bet­ter player than some­one that has no con­fi­dence look­ing for an­swers,” Chi­as­son said. “That’s one thing that Barry’s done so well with me. There were times where he’s given me time to breathe and times where he told me I needed to be bet­ter. Those are things I’m gonna have with me for the rest of my ca­reer and he’s done a great job of that.”

If Trotz does not re­turn, one likely can­di­date for the Cap­i­tals’ head coach­ing job is as­so­ciate head coach Todd Reirden. Reirden was hired as an as­sis­tant coach in 2014, the same year as Trotz. Last year,

the team both pro­moted him to the ti­tle of as­so­ciate coach and dis­al­lowed him from in­ter­view­ing for jobs else­where.

“When we signed Todd to be an as­so­ciate coach, we had an agree­ment for

one year to re­strict his abil­ity to interview and that’ll be up after this year,” MacLel­lan said.

Only one NHL head coach­ing job is cur­rently open: the New York Is­landers.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cap­i­tals coach Barry Trotz said on Wed­nes­day that he wants to re­turn as head coach of the team. If no deal is reached, he be­comes a free agent.

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