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Entering final year of his contract, no extension yet in the works for Barry Trotz

Entering final year of his contract, no extension yet in the works for Barry Trotz

Brian MacLellan told reporters there will not be any personnel changes in terms of coaches for the Capitals next season, but that does not answer all the questions surrounding team head coach Barry Trotz.

Trotz will be entering the final year of his contract in 2017-18, but a contract extension is not yet in the works.

“We haven't talked anything about contract yet,” MacLellan said Tuesday to reporters. “Maybe we do going forward. I think we're in a period here of uncertainty where we have to drill down some specific stuff. I think we needed improvements throughout our organization, myself included. I think once there's evidence of those improvements, a contract extension could take place.”

RELATED: Capitals re-sign Aussie Nathan Walker

It is not too often that you see a head coach allowed to enter the final year of his deal in any sport.  Just what “improvements” MacLellan needs to see before Trotz is offered an extension is unclear. It is very easy to jump to the conclusion that MacLellan is referring to postseason results, but without any further clarification, the possibility that Trotz may still get an extension before the start of next season cannot be ruled out.

MacLellan downplayed the significance of Trotz entering the final year of his deal when asked if he thought it mattered to the team.

“I don't think so. I think our situation matters. We just had a period where everybody's disappointed we didn’t get accomplished what we wanted to have accomplished. If you had two years left or one year left, it's the same situation and I think the contract is the result of where we're at as an organization.”

MacLellan was not overtly critical of Trotz’s performance as coach, but he did not offer a strong endorsement either saying, “I think it's easy in hindsight for me to be critical, but the coaches make coaching decisions as they go and they have to be held accountable for their results also.”

MORE CAPITALS: MacLellan tips hand on plan for Orpik, Alzner

Check out the latest edition of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast!

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

As the NHL continues to focus more on speed and skill, the Capitals took a very old-school approach to Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. From the moment the puck dropped until the clock hit zero, it was clear Washington came into Monday with a very physical game plan.

"It made a big difference," T.J. Oshie said. "I think in these games, everyone’s bringing energy and you kind of want to control that and direct it towards some positive play, some momentum building for your team, and tonight I think we handled that and did that pretty well."

"We just wanted to throw everything we had at them," Stephenson said. "It was a do or die game and we don't want our season to end."

It worked.

The scoresheet officially credited the Caps with 39 hits for the game. The Lightning had only 19. The physical play seemed to wear down Tampa Bay as the game went on.

After an even first period, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second. Then, very fittingly, a physical fourth line extended that lead to 2-0 in the third to finish the Lightning off.

"All of a sudden now we turn a puck over, you’re back in your end, they’re feeling it, they’re being physical, crowd’s behind them and we’re spending way too much time in our D zone," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s what hurt us."

What made it so effective was the fact that the entire team bought into it. Alex Ovechkin was certainly the most noticeable player as he threw himself around like a wrecking ball against everyone wearing a white jersey. But it was not just his line. Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six hits, Devante Smith-Pelly recorded five of his own while Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had four.

The Lightning faced a constant barrage from the Caps from every line and defensive pair. There was no respite.

The hits also gave the fans plenty to cheer for.

The Caps were playing an elimination game at home and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was standing on his head. Even with the score locked at 0-0 through the first period, the crowd was still very much into the game. There was no apprehension, there was no quiet tension. There was just a loud crowd cheering on its team.

"[The fans] were loud right from the start, which I think we fed off of and wanted to give them something back," Brooks Orpik said. "We didn't get a goal early. I think some of the physical play kind of helped carry that. They were great for us."

Now in the third round of the playoffs after six intense games between the Caps and Lightning, the hope is that Game 6's physical play will continue to take its toll on Tampa Bay heading into Game 7.

"We need to do that every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "That's our forecheck. Hopefully, we can keep it going here in Game 7."

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