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Report: Capitals assistant Todd Reirden finalist for head job in Calgary

Report: Capitals assistant Todd Reirden finalist for head job in Calgary

With Randy Carlyle now back in Anaheim as head coach of the Ducks, there is one head coaching vacancy in the NHL and Capitals assistant coach Todd Reirden reportedly is one of three finalists, along with Canucks assistant Glen Gulutzan and Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen.

“We’ve been thorough,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said during a Monday radio interview with Sportsnet 960 The Fan in Calgary. “It wasn’t really the object to get it done quickly. It was to get somebody that’s going to fit with us for now and, really, for the foreseeable future. This hire is one that you’re not just hiring for the next short term. This is somebody that’s going to be with us and grow with us and win with us over the long term.”

While Gulutzan is considered the favorite, Reirden’s stock in the NHL coaching ranks has risen dramatically since joining Barry Trotz’s staff as an assistant two years ago. Last summer Devils general manager Ray Shero showed interest in Reirden, 44, before hiring John Hynes as New Jersey’s head coach.

The Capitals have declined to comment on Reirden’s availability as a head coach, but if he is hired by the Flames it would be a big hole in the Caps’ coaching staff.

“He helped grow my game,” said Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen, who played four seasons under Reirden in Pittsburgh and the last two in Washington. “He gave me a lot of good information, let me work myself out of some things and once I became an everyday player again we worked on getting a little better each week.”

Reirden is also credited with the steady development of Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Ben Lovejoy, John Carlson, Karl Alzner and Dmitry Orlov.

“Todd is a good human being,” Lovejoy said. “I had a great experience with Todd. I feel like we came up in the NHL together. He was a mentor. He played the game and he understood the ups and downs of being a young defenseman. I credit a lot of my development to Todd.”

Lovejoy added that he thought Reirden would make an excellent head coach in the NHL.

“I would think so,” Lovejoy said. “He’s been very successful with every job he’s had. You look at the D men that came through both Pittsburgh and Washington and I think you have to credit Todd for a lot of that.”

Under the direction of Reirden, the Capitals ranked second in goals allowed this season and fifth in power-play percentage. In his first year behind the Caps bench they finished seventh in goals allowed and first in power-play percentage.  

Reirden has also watched closely the handling of superstars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin under Dan Bylsma and Trotz and noted that experience could someday help him land a head coaching job in the NHL.

"It's ultimately a goal, for certain, just as it was for me as a player to play in the National Hockey League," Reirden told the Associated Press before the start of the playoffs. "It's always a goal for me as a coach to get to the pinnacle or the top of your profession."

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Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

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The Hershey Bears

Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

The contracts of Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann and Bears assistant coach Ryan Murphy will not be renewed for next season, the Capitals announced Wednesday. Hershey finished in last place in the Atlantic Division and did not qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

“Troy is a dedicated and hard-working coach and we appreciate all he has done for the Hershey Bears,” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. “At this point, we feel a fresh approach and a change in leadership is needed in order for us to continue to develop our young players towards the next level and for success at the AHL level. We also want to thank Ryan for his contributions to the Hershey Bears and wish him all the best.”

Just two seasons ago, the Bears under Mann were playing the Calder Cup Finals where they lost in four games to the Lake Erie Monsters. Mann served as an assistant coach for Hershey from 2009-2013 and was hired as the head coach in 2014. He led the Bears to a record of 162-102-22-18 during his tenure, good for sixth all-time among Hershey coaches in wins.

Mann coached several current Capitals players in Hershey including Travis Boyd, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos and Philipp Grubauer, among others. Hershey also currently boasts several of the Caps' biggest prospects such as Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs, Riley Barber and Jonas Siegenthaler.

Murphy was with the Bears for all four years of Mann's tenure. He started in video development in Mann's first season and was promoted to assistant coach the following year.

“We’d like to thank Troy Mann and Ryan Murphy for their contributions to the Hershey Bears organization,” said Hershey vice president of hockey operations, Bryan Helmer. “While we are looking to move our hockey club forward, today is certainly an emotional day. I had the pleasure of working with both Troy and Ryan behind the bench for two seasons, and consider them to be great people. We wish both all the best in future endeavors.”

Coaching in the AHL is a tough job as coaches are expected to bring the team success while also developing their NHL club's prospects. There are times when the two goals do not necessarily line up which can make it a difficult balance.

Considering how important it is to develop talent from within, AHL coaches are very significant parts of an organization. Getting the right guy in charge of Hershey won't just boost the AHL team, but will help the Caps down the line with developed players.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: And so we meet again

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: And so we meet again

We all knew this was coming, right?

The Capitals will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs for the third consecutive season and for the 11th time in franchise history. Washington has only beaten Pittsburgh once in their previous 10 series. This season gives them the opportunity to get over the second round and Pittsburgh hump once and for all.

Will this year be different? Will the Caps finally take down their arch nemesis? Will they finally advance to the conference final?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps-Penguins matchup in the Capitals Faceoff Podcast.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page