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Life lessons with soon-to-be Stanley Cup winner Barry Trotz

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Barry Trotz – Biggest name and best bio on NHL The coaching market, as it has been since the spring – was not interested in coaching Vancouver Canucks. Or any other team, actually. Even those who haven’t spent the past few months sacking their coach are a little bit sore. Trotz, who called up Bruce Boudreau after Vancouver made it official Sunday, said he wants to train again. So. Just not now. He has leave to take.

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“Not at all. I’ve spoken to a few teams. A couple of teams reached out to me even during the winter. I said, ‘No, I’m not going back. I’m going to Europe with my wife and some friends, and when I come back, I’ll be charged.'” the athlete hockey show.

Trotz, third on the all-time winning list and Stanley Cup champion with capitals In 2018, he lost his job Islanders coach after last season, when they failed to make the playoffs for the first time in his four seasons. It was his first time away from coaching in nearly 40 years, and he used it to take care of the family business. He said it all occupied him until December. Now, it is ready to go.

“I feel like I accomplished what I needed to achieve,” he said. “I’ve been staying top of the league and staying fresh. So, either spring or next year, we’ll be back at it. I wish they still wanted me.”

It’s hard to imagine anything else. He still has a lot to offer, as evidenced by the wisdom he dropped into our conversation.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.


1. Screening people. Trotz appreciates reaching out to other coaches who have lost their jobs. Boudreau’s case could have been a bit more complicated, given past speculation that Trotz might eventually replace him, but Trotz said he nixed it in the bud.

I just watched Bruce go through hell. I reached out to Bruce. I said, “I have no interest in your business or anything.” This was probably about six weeks ago. I said, “Listen, I’m watching and I know what’s going on. Sometimes you need to talk to someone outside of the game, just so you have someone else to vent to. That’s my number.” And he really appreciated it.

I just thought it was unfair to him, the way it was done. it’s a pity. I don’t know the dynamics of that organization and how it came to be, but it was hard to watch. And I think everyone realizes that.

When you sit on this side of the fence, it’s easy to coach, easy to criticize, and easy to do all of it. There are some things I know, at work, when I watch analysts and people in the media ripping someone off, and I go, “They don’t even know. They have no idea.” As coaches, you want to be as transparent as possible, but sometimes you just have to take it in and protect your players.

I know Bruce a little bit. We have the same actor. And I felt that was the right thing to communicate with. Because when you get fired, no one wants to communicate with you much, other than reporters asking what happened and if you had any ill will. When Bruce was going through that, I felt like it was like the time he (Ken Hitchcock) would reach out to him when I had been nervous over the years and say, “If you need someone to talk to, I’m here.” I felt like it was something I had to do, just as a human being.


2. Manage upward…when you can. Communication with your boss is vital, Trotz said.

(The Canucks’ position was) visually bad, as everyone said, so I don’t think I’m talking about any other. You are trying to manage that. I think I was very lucky, I had David Boyle when I first started the NHL.

But I always felt (it was important) to communicate not only horizontally with other coaches, but also vertically, to your management. You need to tell your manager that you had a conversation with a player. Maybe he’s not playing well and you’re trying to push him to the level you feel he can get to.

You’d better talk about it, because the last thing you want is for your manager to get a call from the agent, saying, “Hey, your coach and my players don’t see eye to eye and we want out.” You do not want that. Communication is the key to anything. Which is as simple as connecting every day and having coffee, or at least a phone call with your manager.

But it is already the manager’s team. You can put your mark on it in terms of style, but the management puts the players where they are. If a manager is creating a juggernaut-type offensive team, and they’re filling the roster with that in mind, and then you’re putting in a real solid defensive coach who wants to “go deep” every time, you need balance. I’ve always tried to train the crew. I’m probably best known as a defensive coach, because I fixed a lot of those problems on my last team, but I’ve coached very offensive teams in Nashville and Washington. I had a completely different problem with (the Islanders). They were bad defensively, so we had to stir it up a bit. Then we scored 100 goals in the first year.


3. Everyone needs luck. Including the Stanley Cup champion – Trotz learned this from eight-time champion Jacques Lemerre at a resort in the Bahamas.

We lost twice in overtime to Columbus (in the first round in 2018), then went to Game 3 and won in double overtime. I walked into the coach’s room, and I said, “You guys know what? We’re going to win the Stanley Cup now.” True story. And all my coaches looked at me like I was a foreigner. “Settle down, Big Boy, we just won one game.”

Two years ago, during the All-Star break, I ended up taking my family to the Bahamas. And I met Jacques Lemire. With Washington, we had a good team. We were trying to get over the mental hump. We’ve lost to Pittsburgh two years in a row. We and Pittsburgh She was sort of competing for the President’s Cup. They went on to beat us twice and win two cups. And that was hard. It was hard mentally, because you just felt like being there.

So I got to the Bahamas, and I ran into Jacques Lemire. Of all places. I said, “Jack, if you were here, I wouldn’t mind sitting with you for coffee.” So we arranged to have coffee, and I was talking to Jack and I said, “I’ve got a good team. I think we can win the cup. I’m looking for that edge. I’ve won some cups. Is there something that really allowed you to win?”

And he looked at me, thought for a second and said, “We didn’t have to play the Islanders. We could never defeat the Islanders.” And I was waiting for this nugget. But what he was telling me is that you need a little luck.

And when (blue jackets wing Artemy Panarin) hit the post and we won in extra time twice, I knew. I knew we were going to win the cup. I felt it. And there was a real lull to the rest of qualifying for me. I knew we were going to win all along. Even in the Tampa series (when the Caps blew a 2-0 lead). I was calm through it all. I just learned.


Alex Ovechkin, right, hands Barry Trotz the Stanley Cup in 2018 (Photo by Isaac Breckin/Getty Images)

4. The value of the trip. This was something that had spent time impressing the Capitals stars Alex Ovechkin And Niklas Backstrom in particular, who have spent more than a decade falling short of postseason projections.

When you believe in something strongly, people can see it. People can feel it. It is a lot easier when there is this conviction. Then our players bought. We enjoyed it. Ovi and Backstrom, they had a lot of disappointment. I was able to convey to them that great players should not be defined by a piece of silver.

I said, “Everyone wants to be Alex Ovechkin.” How many kids have tied yellow laces, tucked their shirts in and used his cane and mannerisms? “The impact you have had on your career, you will be defined as a Hall of Fame player, one of the greatest scorers of all time. And someone who saved the game of hockey.” he and (Sidney Crosby) saved hockey game. So I’ve been conveying to them that it’s about the journey, not necessarily the metal, and that that journey is going to be really hard… The end is the prize. You have to say to the world, “Hey, we did it.” But inside anyone who wins, it’s about the journey.

I got a lot of shambles when I said that[Ovechkin]was the greatest scorer of all time when I first got there. I picked up a lot of flash from north of the border. I also said that I think he’s the most physical star I’ve seen in a long time. Even more physical than Mark Messier.

I took a lot of flack for that. But he is exceptional. I don’t know if you’ll ever see a man like him again, because of the toughness factor. He and the game master really carried on for a long time. Now, when you look at it, it comes full circle. It’s like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.


5. Watch out Toronto Maple Leafs. Trotz watches a lot of hockey, and one of the teams that stands out is everyone’s favorite Lightning Rod. They’re heading up, Trotz says.

Nobody gives Toronto any credit for how good they are defensively. I think we’re starting to get to know him, but I saw him last year.

The thing I saw with them last year was the level of commitment in qualifying. Their stars were blocking shots. They got their nose dirty more often. They made the simple play when they had to. They didn’t try to force things. (in 2019), Tampa Bay Lost in an early round. This is how the player grows – Nikita Kucherov You will never get rid of the disc. Will try to do this play.

(In 2020), when we played them in the bubble and they won the cup, Coach led the playoffs in getting pucks deep, either by going in with possession, or by putting them in. They learn what is valuable. They’re not going to just go, “Oh, I’ve done this my whole life. I’m going to keep doing this.” They say, “You know, this is a different animal, so I should treat it differently.”

You saw that last year with the Leafs. I like Mitch MarnerGame. It’s first in the front check, first in the back check. When your stars do it, you stand a chance of success. There are a lot of good hockey players in this league now. The skill is stupid.

I sign them learn to win. I don’t sign for the Leafs because there is a team like Boston There, Tampa. But I’d say it’s a great competition – great teams like Tampa and Boston – that Toronto is learning from. I know if you’re a Toronto fan it’s been 1,000 cuts to death over the years, but you’ll get through. They will penetrate. it will happen. I don’t know if that will happen this year, but it will. You just will.

(Top photo: Brad Penner/USA TODAY)

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