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Trotz moves into Top 10 in NHL victories


Trotz moves into Top 10 in NHL victories

With the Capitals’ 3-2 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, Barry Trotz did something he never thought imaginable. He now has more NHL wins than Bryan Murray, a coach who taught him much of what he knows today.

Trotz was a 17-year-old center for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League when he was first introduced to Murray, who went 620-465-131 with 23 overtime losses with the Capitals, Red Wings, Panthers, Ducks and Senators, and is now general manager of the Ottawa Senators.

“It seems quite difficult for me to even fathom that,” Trotz said of moving into 10th place on the NHL’s all-time coaching victories list with 621, one ahead of Murray. “When I started coaching I took a lot of stuff that Bryan did with us in Regina.

“I had a lot of respect for how he coached. I was scared to death of him as a player. I was the youngest guy on the team and he had a strong personality, but I liked the way he coached and I loved playing for him. With what he’s done in league as a coach and GM, he’s one of the great builders in this league. Obviously, he’s a Hall of Fame type of person and to be mentioned with a name like his is a little surreal.”


Trotz, 53, has a coaching record of 621-510-60 with 113 overtime losses with the Predators and Capitals.

Trotz has passed a few other legendary coaches en route to becoming the 10th winningest coach in NHL history. In the past month he has passed Jacques Martin (613) and Jacques Lemaire (617), leaving him in pretty good company:

1, Scotty Bowman 1,244

2, Al Arbour 782

3, Joel Quenneville* 769

4, Ken Hitchcock* 724

5, Dick Irvin 692

6, Pat Quinn 684

7, Lindy Ruff* 673

8, Mike Keenan 672

9, Ron Wilson 648

10, Barry Trotz* 621


Hitchcock said he started with a strong base of teachers that included three-time Canadian Olympian and Hockey Hall of Famer Terry O’Malley, junior coach Bill LaForge, former Canadian Olympic coaches and longtime NHL assistants Wayne Fleming and Dave King, and longtime university coaches Clare Drake (University of Alberta) and George Kingston (University of Calgary).

When he was hired to coach the expansion Nashville Predators in 1997, Trotz said he was forced to become a better coach by facing coaches like Scotty Bowman, Joel Quenneville, Ken Hitchcock and Mike Babcock.

“I was really happy we had a team like the Red Wings in our division and we played them a lot,” Trotz said. “They made the Nashville Predators a better organization and a better team because of the high standards Scotty Bowman set. That’s why I credit the culture we created in Nashville to a team like Detroit. They were a big influence.”

One reason for Trotz’s longevity, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said, is his honesty with players.

“He’s willing to tell the truth,” Ovechkin said. “It doesn’t matter who you are. When you put a new coach in place you have to trust him and we all trust him. It’s a good thing.”

Nicklas Backstrom, who played in his 600th NHL game Tuesday night, agreed.

“He’s a great personality,” Backstromn said. “He’s brought a lot to this hockey club. The respect he has around the league, he earned it for sure. For us as players we’re happy to have him here.”


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With Burakovsky out, is Chandler Stephenson the next man up?


With Burakovsky out, is Chandler Stephenson the next man up?

With Andre Burakovsky out for the remainder of the first round at least, someone will have to replace him in the top six. Originally, it looked like Jakub Vrana was the man for the job. Based on Game 4, however, it now looks like Chandler Stephenson is the "next man up" for the Caps.

While Vrana may have top-six skill and a high ceiling, it was Stephenson who stepped into the second-line role on Thursday playing alongside Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. Stephenson finished with two shots on goal in 17:28 of ice time. Vrana, meanwhile, played for only 6:40.

On Friday, Barry Trotz praised Stephenson's hockey IQ for allowing him to adjust to the top-six in a complementary role.

"[Stephenson's] an intelligent player," Trotz said. "He played with [Backstrom] a lot [Thursday]. If you talk with the real top-end guys, he has the ability to think like a top-end guy in terms of play with them. He’s a very intelligent player. He skates extremely well. He’s got some strength to his game. He can complement people. I think his ability to play those different roles and his hockey IQ when you play with those skill guys, he plays more of a give-and-go game than an individual game. When you play with those high skill guys, you’re able to compliment them very well."

Stephenson has spent the majority of the season on the fourth line. He was drafted as a natural center, but has played primarily wing since coming to the NHL. The ability to play both positions gives Stephenson more versatility than most forwards which Trotz credits for helping him see the game so well.

"The great thing about Chandler is he’s played multiple positions over the years. I think it’s allowed him to play a fourth-line role and with high-skill guys. At center-ice, you distribute the puck a little more.  He’s turning into a well-rounded player for us."

On the surface, having Stephenson on the fourth line over Vrana makes little sense. Vrana is highly skilled and has great speed, but he is also prone to giving up turnovers and his production can be inconsistent. Trotz has clearly put a premium on responsible play this postseason which gives Stephenson the edge.

But Game 4 was only one game. If you are going to get top-six minutes, Stephenson will be expected to produce offensively as well. Despite the limited ice time he has gotten, Vrana has shown he can have a major impact on games. In Game 1, he set up the team's only 5-on-5 goal and drew a penalty. In Game 3, he drew two penalties in less than two minutes, giving Washington a two-man advantage.

Stephenson had a fantastic game in Game 4 when he was given the chance to play in the top-six. The next step will be finding a way to have a bigger impact on the game.


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Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Alex Ovechkin said the Caps would return to Washington with a tied series. The Caps captain is a man of his word as the Caps won both Game 3 and Game 4 to even up the series at two games apiece.

John Tortorella had no answers after seeing his Columbus Blue Jackets fall in Game 4, but he will have to figure things out quickly as the series shifts back to Washington for a pivotal Game 5.

The Caps return home with two straight wins and all the momentum. There's just one problem: No one seemingly can win at home.

What: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Round 1, Game 5

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 3:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC.

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals take on the Blue Jackets in Game 5 on Saturday, April 21 at 3:00 p.m. ET in Washington. The series is tied 2-2.


Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 2:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 2:30 p.m. Tune back to NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 6:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

2:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
2:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
3:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Blue Jackets on NBC
5:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
6:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 5 is available to stream live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.


Here are the Caps' projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly- Lars Eller - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Scratches: Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky (upper-body), Shane Gerisch, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.