In the wake of the Capitals' second first-round playoff exit in the second year under head coach Todd Reirden, questions were bound to come up regarding the team's future behind the bench. Add in the fact that Washington lost in just five games to the New York Islanders, a team coached by the man Reirden replaced, and this is going to be a big storyline heading into the offseason.
Reirden did not wait long to address his job status on Thursday.
“You know that is something that is part of the job," Reirden said following the Game 5 loss when asked if he believed he would still be the team's coach next season. "That is not something that I go into every day thinking about. I go into it with a plan of how to make our team better and improve our players and do it with passion, pride and work ethic."
The dynamic of Reirden having to face a team coached by Barry Trotz no doubt brings up more questions about coaching than a first-round exit against almost any other team would. There's also no doubt that coaching played a factor in Washington's defeat, both by Trotz and Reirden.
New York came out with a game plan that they executed masterfully. Washington looked lost and, at times, unmotivated. When the Caps went down in the series, the team seemingly made no adjustments outside of a handful of lineup changes. At no point did it appear the team had any semblance of a plan for how to actually overcome the style the Islanders play.
Just what happened in this series and why Washington was beaten so thoroughly by a team that, on paper, was not nearly as good as the Caps, is a question that Reirden will have to answer.
"When you don’t come up on the winning end of it, it is disappointing and you have to look at why that has happened," Reirden said. "I am confident that I am a young coach that continues to improve and continues to get better and have been able to find success in the regular season and haven’t been able to find it in two completely different circumstances in the playoffs. I don’t have all of the answers right now and I think it is good to take some time away and look at it and dissect why it happened."