With the Capitals' win on Tuesday against the New York Rangers, head coach Barry Trotz became just the sixth coach in NHL history to earn 700 career wins.
Trotz joins Scotty Bowman (1,244 wins), Joel Quenneville (840), Al Arbour (782), Ken Hitchcock (781) and Lindy Ruff (726). Of those six, Trotz and Ruff are the only two who have not yet won a Stanley Cup.
"It means I've been around a long time," Trotz said following Tuesday's win.
Trotz is currently in his 18th season as a head coach and third with the Capitals. He spent the first 15 seasons with the Nashville Predators.
"I've been blessed to coach a lot of great players and been with two wonderful organizations and surround myself with really smart people," Trotz said. "The assistant coaches and the associate coaches over the years, they're a big part. They do a lot of the work and I've just been blessed to have been doing it for as long as I have and the players responding and playing as well as they have to get those wins."
Trotz has led the Capitals to one division title and a Presidents' Trophy. The Caps look poised to repeat those accomplishments this season with the top record in the NHL. In order for this season to be considered a success, however, Trotz will have to find a way to lead Washington past the second round for the first time in his career and the first time in the Alex Ovechkin era.
Already among the coaching elite in terms of wins, Trotz could cement his legacy as one of the all-time greats if he can win a Stanley Cup.
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About midway through the first period, Kuznetsov skated towards the boards when he was hit in the head with an elbow by Brandon Tanev. Kuznetsov was not looking and Tanev clearly raised the elbow for the high hit. He was assessed a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head. Kuznetsov left for the locker room.
Kuznetsov was not on the bench for the start of the second period and it was announced soon after that he would not return due to an upper-body injury. He will be re-evaluated on Thursday.
Kuznetsov was just another in a long list of injuries the team suffered for Wednesday’s game. Pheonix Copley got the surprise start in Winnipeg as it was announced prior to the start that Braden Holtby would not dress due to an upper-body injury. Michal Kempny was also out of the lineup due to an illness. He is considered day-to-day.
A hit to the head that caused an injury to Kuznetsov calls into question whether any supplementary discipline will be coming for Brandon Tanev. The hit cannot be deemed anything but intentional and avoidable and it also caused an injury.
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Braden Holtby will miss Wednesday’s game in Winnipeg due to an upper-body injury which will give Pheonix Copley his second start in as many nights. The team will also dress an emergency backup for the game. Isabelle Khurshudyan was the first to report the news.
In addition, Michal Kempny will miss Wednesday’s game as well due to an illness. He is considered day-to-day. Jonas Siegenthaler will get into the lineup for his second NHL game.
Pheonix Copley started Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. He turned aside 26 of the 28 shots he faced for a .929 save percentage in the win.
It is unclear when the injury to Holtby occurred. Copley was a surprise start in Tuesday’s game, but if the team suspected Holtby could miss Wednesday, recalls from Hershey could have been made prior to now which would have prevented the need for an emergency backup.
The backup for the Capitals will be Gavin McHale, the goaltending coach for the women’s team at the University of Manitoba. McHale, 31, is in his second season at UM and is listed by the website Elite Prospects as 6-feet 7-inches. The last time he played competitively was in 2014-15 with the Warren Mecs of the South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League. This is not the first time he has been called upon in the NHL as he was an emergency NHL backup in the past for the Colorado Avalanche in February.
Depending on the length of Holtby’s issue, a call-up for either Ilya Samsonov or Vitek Vanecek could be a possibility. Vanecek has been out with an upper-body injury meaning Samsonov would be the most likely candidate should the Caps need him.
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