After Canada’s World Cup victory, Barry Trotz went from an assistant coach for Team Canada back to head coach of the Washington Capitals. But even as his focus shifts back to the NHL regular season, Trotz hopes to bring the lessons he learned from the experience with him to Washington.
Lacking the history and prestige of the Olympics, it was unclear whether or not people would accept the World Cup as a legitimate tournament. Upon his return, however, Trotz had nothing but positive things to say about the World Cup despite the fact his participation ultimately meant missing a week of training camp with his own team.
“I know everybody that was involved with [Canada head coach Mike Babcock] and the Team Canada staff, we’re all better for it,” Trotz said. “And it was an exceptional experience.
"Obviously, winning wasn’t too bad either.”
But winning the World Cup wasn’t what Trotz wanted to talk about. What seemed to excite him the most was what he learned from the other coaches, especially Babcock.
“From an organizational standpoint, I think Mike is exceptional,” Trotz said. “Especially for a tournament situation, his preparation, his knowledge, all of those things, he’s one of the best I’ve ever encountered.”
Babcock lead the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup Championship in 2008 and is widely considered one of the best coaches in the NHL. In addition to the World Cup, Babcock also coached Canada to gold medals in 2010 and 2014 and a World Championship in 2004.
The talent on Team Canada was absolutely exceptional, but it wasn’t just limited to the players. Babcock put together an all-star coaching staff to match his roster.
Joining Trotz on the staff was Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville, Boston head coach Claude Julien and Carolina head coach Bill Peters.
“You had some of the best hockey minds in the world who have done a lot of winning at a lot of different levels, and there was a lot of NHL victories in that room,” Trotz said.
And those coaches weren’t just talking about Team Canada or how they were going to beat Russia or Sweden. They were just talking hockey.
“When you’re sitting there living with other coaches 24/7, you get to talk a lot of hockey, so you get a lot of ideas,” Trotz said. Ideas that he hopes to bring with him to Washington.
So even though Trotz is coming off a year in which the Caps lost in the second round of the playoffs yet again despite a dominant regular season and even though he comes to camp a week late at the start what will be a critical season for him and the organization, Trotz did not sound agitated or concerned. Instead, he sounded invigorated.
“I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Trotz said of his World Cup experience. “It made me better.”
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