Updates from Tuesday, May 27
The Washington Capitals provide comments from GM Brian MacLellan and coach Barry Trotz:
"The team takes on the identity of its top payers… I don't want to take anything away from the Capitals offensively." - Barry Trotz— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) May 27, 2014
"One thing I like about Barry's style of coaching, it's a consistent, discipline style every game for 82 games a year." -- Brian MacLellan— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) May 27, 2014
Hockey Central passes along Trotz's plans for Alex Ovechkin and owner Ted Leonsis' overall plans for the team:
Trotz on Ovechkin's role: "We'll decide that together." Wasn't proper time to talk yet with Ovechkin at Mr. Putin's house.— Hockey Central (@SNHockeyCentral) May 27, 2014
Leonsis: "We're not going to rebuild the team, but we are going to refresh the team."— Hockey Central (@SNHockeyCentral) May 27, 2014
Chuck Gormley of Comcast SportsNet has more from Leonsis, who speaks about the coaching hunt:
Ted Leonsis says Caps didn't speak with Wayne Gretzky. #CapitalsTalk— Chuck Gormley (@ChuckGormleyCSN) May 27, 2014
Following a frustrating season and a gut-wrenching start to the offseason, the Washington Capitals have finally announced some encouraging news for their fans.
According to CapitalsToday.com, the team has hired Barry Trotz as its new head coach, with former assistant general manager Brian MacLellan taking over as senior vice president and general manager.
General manager George McPhee and head coach Adam Oates were each fired last month, less than two weeks after the conclusion of the regular season.
Team owner Ted Leonsis confirmed the hirings during a press conference on Monday, per CapitalsToday.com:
We are extremely pleased to name Brian MacLellan the team’s general manager and welcome Barry Trotz to Washington as the Capitals coach. After conducting an extensive search for a general manager, we determined that Brian was the best candidate to help us reach our ultimate goal, winning the Stanley Cup. We have witnessed his abilities firsthand, and we have tremendous respect for how he manages people and situations.
The 51-year-old Trotz had spent the past 15 seasons as the head coach of the Nashville Predators, leading the team to seven postseason appearances since 2003-04. Last month, the Predators announced that Trotz would not return as head coach after missing the playoffs for the second straight year.
On Monday, Trotz expressed his gratitude for the opportunity, per CapitalsToday.com:
I am very excited to join the Washington Capitals and want to thank Ted Leonsis, Dick Patrick and Brian MacLellan for this opportunity. This is a great organization with a strong foundation and a tremendous fan base. I look forward to working with this group of talented players and the quality front office staff this team has assembled.
As The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta points out, the Capitals were wise to fill both of their key vacancies at the same time:
People were concerned about the Capitals bringing in Trotz without a GM... helps when the new GM is the old Asst GM.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) May 26, 2014
Although the Capitals are coming off a 2013-14 campaign that saw them finish fifth in the Metropolitan division, the team had qualified for the playoffs in each of its previous six tries dating back to 2007-08, which means both Trotz and MacLellan will face lofty expectations in year No. 1.
How will the Capitals fare in Trotz's first season?
With stars like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on Washington's roster, Trotz will have plenty of talent to work with in 2014-15, but getting the squad to buy in defensively and do the little things it takes to win a Stanley Cup title will each be tall tasks for the first-year boss.
The Capitals are renowned for their lethal power play, but ranked 21st in goals allowed last season and were mediocre when playing a man down, ranking just 16th in penalty-kill percentage.
Trotz's Predators were dismal in both of those departments last season, meaning he'll have his work cut out for him this summer as he looks to restore the Capitals to contender status in the loaded Eastern Conference.
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