NHL announces 2019 All-Star game coaches
Todd Reirden had some big shoes to fill when he was named head coach of the Washington Capitals this summer.
It was not only his first head coaching job in the NHL, but he also had to take over for the most successful coach (Barry Trotz) in franchise history that had just guided the team to its first ever Stanley Cup championship.
Halfway through the first half of the 2018-19 season the Capitals are once again back on top of the Metropolitan Division, meaning that Reirden will get the opportunity to coach at the 2019 All-Star game in San Jose.
Reirden was one of four coaches announced to the game on Saturday, joining Jon Cooper (Tampa Bay Lightning, Atlantic Division), Paul Maurice (Winnipeg Jets, Central Division) and Bill Peters (Calgary Flames, Pacific Division).
Head coaches for the All-Star game are selected based on which team has the highest points percentage on Jan. 5, the official halfway point of the NHL season.
[Related: NHL reveals All-Star game rosters]
Reirden and Peters are both in their first years as head coach with their respective teams. And while there probably is not much surprise seeing Cooper, Maurice, or even Reirden in this position given the teams they are coaching, Peters is probably a pretty big surprise. After missing the playoffs in each of his four years behind the Carolina Hurricanes’ bench he took over a Flames team that was coming off of a highly disappointing 2017-18 performance. Thanks in large part to a Norris Trophy caliber year from Mark Giordano, a career year from new-comer Elias Lindholm, and some outstanding young core players (led by Johnny Gaudreau) the Flames have climbed to the top of the division and the Western Conference.
In Tampa Bay, Cooper’s Lightning are running over everybody they face this season and enter Saturday with a 12-point lead over every other team in the NHL.
Maurice’s Jets, even with their recent slump, are back on top of the Central Division for the second year in a row.
The 2019 All-Star Game will once again be a three-on-three tournament that has each division face each other in a series of 20-minute mini-games (Atlantic vs. Metropolitan; Central vs. Pacific; then the two winners in a championship game).
The All-Star weekend will take place on January 25 and 26 at the SAP Center in San Jose.