Barry Trotz

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Barry Trotz brings the Stanley Cup home to Dauphin, Manitoba

Barry Trotz brings the Stanley Cup home to Dauphin, Manitoba

Barry Trotz may officially be the head coach of the New York Islanders, but on Wednesday he painted the town red in Dauphin, Manitoba on his day with the Stanley Cup.

Trotz grew up in Manitoba and, when his playing career ended, it is where he first became a coach. In 1984-85, Trotz got his first coaching gig as an assistant coach with the University of Manitoba. The following year, he became the general manager and head coach of the Dauphin Kings, a junior team in the MJHL. That made Dauphin a very fitting site for Trotz to bring the Cup.

The hometown hero received quite the welcome.

Trotz's day included stops at the Dauphin Regional Health Centre before a parade given in his honor. The parade ended at Credit Union Place, the home of the Dauphin Kings, where fans were given the opportunity to have their pictures taken with Trotz and the Cup.

There was quite the turnout.

The event raised money for local charities which Trotz pledged to match up to $75,000.

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Todd Reirden: There was no animosity between him and Barry Trotz over contract status

Todd Reirden: There was no animosity between him and Barry Trotz over contract status

The Capitals had a unique contract situation heading into the 2017-18 season. Head coach Barry Trotz was on the final year of his contract and was not given an extension. Associate coach Todd Reirden’s contract, meanwhile, ran through 2018-19.

That set up an awkward situation heading into the season, one that was exacerbated by the Caps’ 10-9-1 start to the season.

While the media speculated there Trotz and Reirden’s contract situation could cause tension among the coaches, Reirden says that was never the case.

“Obviously, there was talk about [a] contract situation for the fact that I had one moving forward as an associate and he didn’t have one going into the season,” Reirden said Tuesday after he was formally introduced as the Capitals head coach. “So there was a lot made of that and it was something that was not really a very big factor at all – if at all."

But Trotz’s subsequent resignation and Reirden’s hiring shows that the team indeed viewed Reirden as a potential head coaching candidate. That sort of dynamic between coaches has the potential to destroy a team internally. Lines can be drawn, sides can be taken between both players and coaches.

A tough conversation had to be had between Trotz and Reirden to make sure everyone was on the same page.

Reirden approached the situation with the same philosophy he hopes to bring with him as head coach.

“I think sometimes when you deal with difficult situations – and I think this kind of really goes along with my stance as a coach – is sometimes you have to have difficult discussions and some things that aren’t necessarily fun conversations. But they need to be had,” Reirden said. “And I think that’s the important thing and something I’m certainly not afraid of dealing with Barry or any of the players is having difficult conversations as well as ones in patting them on the back.

“It’s something that we went through and I think the honesty and dealing with it and getting the issues out just so everyone had a clear understanding of what was going on, it always ended with the same thing that whatever happens, I am all in to win the Stanley Cup and I want to help your staff any way possible win the Stanley Cup."

If there was any lingering animosity between the coaches, Reirden did not show it. Trotz was among the first people he thanked during his introduction “for bringing me into this organization, making me a part of his staff, bringing me to Washington and making me fall in love with this area.”

“It was always a goal that [Trotz] talked to me about, that 'I want you to be ready and prepared for an opportunity where it's your press conference,'" Reirden continued. “And today I'm able to reach that goal.”

Reirden went on to say he has been in contact with Trotz since he was hired to replace him in Washington.

“It’s important to understand that I’m not here today without Barry taking a chance on me and hiring me to be a part of his staff. We’ve gone our own separate ways and his situation making a decision that was best for him and his family and you know certainly this is not something we ever envisioned playing out like this, but I am certainly excited to be in this spot right now and being able to take advantage of the things I was able to learn from him and continue to build on some things that we started in our process here of becoming champs and move our organization forward and be a big part of Washington Capital history.”

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Now the Islanders' coach, Barry Trotz explains why he left the Capitals

Now the Islanders' coach, Barry Trotz explains why he left the Capitals

DALLAS — Hours after being named head coach of the New York Islanders on Thursday, Barry Trotz made his first public comments since stepping down in Washington earlier in the week.

And, from the sounds of it, his departure was mostly a business decision.

“Yeah, obviously, I love the D.C. area,” he told reporters on a conference call. “But when it came to the business aspect, from my standpoint, I felt that it wasn’t really sincere [given] what we did together. So I decided that it was better to just move on.”

“I thank the fans,” he added. “I’m glad we could get it done. I said we could get it done in four years, and we did.”

Although the value of his contract with the Islanders has not been publicly disclosed, Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Trotz is set to earn “at least $4 million” per year—or more than twice what he was earning in Washington.

A source told NBC Sports Washington earlier this week that Trotz, who directed the Caps to their first Stanley Cup two weeks ago, sought $5 million per season for five seasons. The five-year term, that source said, was a non-starter as far as the Caps were concerned, given the relatively short shelf life of NHL coaches and the fact that Trotz had already been in Washington for four seasons.

When it became clear that the sides weren’t going to close the considerable gap between their positions, Trotz offered to step down and the resignation was accepted, making the 55-year-old a free agent.

When “I got the [counteroffer], I guess I knew it was time to go in a different direction,” he said.

In New York, Trotz replaces Doug Weight, who was fired earlier this month along with GM Garth Snow. Lou Lamoriello, a longtime NHL executive, took over for Snow and immediately started a search for a new head coach.

Once Trotz became available, it didn’t take Lamoriello to zero in on the NHL's fifth all-time winningest coach. The two met, exchanged ideas and quickly realized that they had found a good fit in one another. Trotz said he's already reached out to the Islanders' star captain, John Tavares, who could become the biggest prize on the free agent market on July 1. 

And, like that, Trotz now is the coach of a Metropolitan Division foe. The Caps and Isles will face off four times next season, beginning with a Nov. 26meeting in New York.

It’ll be weird, for sure. But professional sports is a business. And all sides involved in the Trotz saga were served a painful reminder of that this week.

Asked if he felt wanted in Washington, Trotz said: “Well, I’ll leave that up to the Caps to answer that. I think, absolutely. We just won a cup together and so I don't think that was an issue. I think it was more principle.”

In the end, Trotz wanted to be compensated like one of the top coaches in the game. And now he will, settling in behind big market coaches such as Toronto’s Mike Babcock ($6.25 million per year), Chicago’s Joel Quenneville ($6 million) and Montreal’s Claude Julien ($5 million).

“It’s good to be wanted,” he said. “It happened really quickly because you go from one emotion of winning the cup to the next emotion of leaving the team that you just won the Cup with, and you have to make some quick decisions. I know the timing of it—end of the season, the draft coming up, free agency [and] all that—there was some urgency on that. Both parties knew that, so we went to work at it and got it done.”

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