Caps new coach gets his 'moment,' and thanks predecessor for getting him there 

Chris Russell
July 03, 2018 - 2:23 pm
Capitals Victory Rally

Washington Capitals Photography/Patrick McDermott

Categories: 

It's official.

Todd Reirden is the next head coach of the Washington Capitals. And today, as he stepped into the biggest job of his life, he made certain to thank his predeceesor for getting him ready for this moment. 

“I’d like to thank Barry Trotz 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,” the Capitals new on-ice boss told reporters.

“Underneath Barry, I was able to learn and grow in preparation for a day like today. It was always a goal that he talked to me about that ‘I want you to be ready and prepared for an opportunity where it’s your press conference.’

This journey to the Stanley Cup and to ultimately replacing Trotz wasn't easy... either on the ice or behind-the-scenes.

Reirden has been groomed for the position he now holds for the last couple of years. Trotz recognized that. General Manager Brian MacLellan has not only admitted that but prevented Reirden from leaving contractually by extending his deal and denying him permission to interview for head coaching positions over the last year or so.

Reirden said he and Trotz had candid conversations when other teams were interested in Reirden, but have mostly dismissed the notion the situation grew awkward or that it created friction.

 “There was talk about contract situations for the fact that I had one moving forward as an associate and the fact he didn’t have one going into the season.  There was a lot made of that. It was something that was really not a big factor at all, if at all,” Reirden said.

“At the end of every discussion, it always ended with, ‘let’s win the Stanley Cup!’

“When you deal with difficult situations and I think this goes along with my stance as a coach, some times you have to have difficult discussions and some things that aren’t necessarily fun conversations. But they need to be had. It’s something I’m certainly not afraid of, in dealing with Barry or any of the players. It’s something we went through. Everyone had a clear understanding.”

The goal, Reirden said, was always on the holy grail.

Mission accomplished.

“I was and am extremely proud to be a part of helping Barry Trotz, a man who has coached for many years, put that Stanley Cup over his head.”

And then as it turned out, Reirden said he was surprised to see Trotz walk away and join the New York Islanders a few days later. He said they’ve talked recently and now will coach against each other in the same division.

Both have a Stanley Cup. Both are now head coaches. Both have taken very interesting paths to get to where they are.

Follow Chris Russell on Twitter.