Todd Reirden had a tall order to fill when he was named head coach of the Capitals back in June.
Reirden, who previously headed up the Caps' defense and their dynamic power play, was tasked with not only being the leader of a NHL team for the first time in his career, but leading the Stanley Cup champions on a repeat; one of the hardest things to do in hockey.
Now with the team atop the Metro Division and three points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins with five games to go, Reirden and the Caps are well on their way to fighting for a repeat.
"I knew what I was getting myself into," Reirden said on the pressure he faced on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies Wednesday. "You know, I had been through it in other locations I had been in and different stuff as a player and stuff, so it's been something I was prepared for. I did a lot of research on, you know, going into not just even if I was the head coach last year and then trying to repeat and do it again is a challenge in itself, let alone as a new first-year coach."
It wasn't always smooth sailing for Reirden and the Caps during the 2018-19 season. The team started its season with Tom Wilson suspended, a number of injuries to several of the team's top players. Their 7-6-3 start caused people to question if the champs were dealing with a nagging Stanley Cup hangover.
But Reirden turned that bad start around, even earning himself a trip to the NHL All-Star Game.
"I prepared and was ready for pretty much anything that came my way," Reirden said. "I have a really good staff around me. You know, we have good players so it goes back to the players. And they're the ones that play and do the job and I'm fortunate to be coaching a great team."
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