The huge reason Todd Reirden got the job

Chris Russell
July 09, 2018 - 2:03 am

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images


Todd Reirden, the Capitals new head coach hasn’t stopped communicating. That’s how he got the job to replace Barry Trotz as the bench boss of the Stanley Cup Champions and that’s why his boss chose him.

Since being introduced to the media last Tuesday, he’s done a press conference, a side press gathering with reporters, one-on-one interviews with television stations, Grant & Danny live at Kettler and as if that wasn’t enough – Thursday – he joined both the Junkies and Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan.

That’s a lot of communicating. Of course, that’s Reirden’s specialty. That’s a big part of why he was Trotz’s top assistant and why he is the new Capitals ‘Chief of Communication’ behind the bench and behind the scenes.

“It’s huge. It’s the number one thing for me, development and communication,” Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan said while addressing other pressing issues, when directly asked if those valued communication skills were the number one skill his new head coach possessed.

“I think Todd has the unique ability to communicate with high-end players (he specifically cited Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom, because Reirden worked with the power play) and with depth players,” MacLellan said. “I can’t tell you how many times players communicated to me personally or through their agents how happy they were with how Todd handled them.”

For Reirden – there’s no master plan or textbook on how to get through to every player. “Absolutely everyone is a separate entity,” he told The Fan and reporters. “That’s one of the things I love about coaching. Every day is different. There’s a new challenge in front of you. It’s an awesome experience to go through with players because it’s never going to go the same way.”

For Reirden – he’s been around most of the Capitals core for the last four years but it was his work with Michal Kempny that seemed to convince MacLellan and almost everyone that he just has “it” – whatever ‘it” is. Kempny was acquired in mid-February and was in-and-out of the Blackhawks lineup before becoming a top-pair duo with John Carlson down the stretch and throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Caps.

“I think the key for me is somehow establishing that trust,” Reirden said. “So the player knows how we’re going to improve their game. Sometimes it’s on the ice. Sometimes it’s off the ice…they know that I care.”

Most importantly, Reirden says with elite NHL players and personalities, you better be real. “I’m passionate. It’s not fake. If you go about it the wrong way, players see right through it. Once they know it’s a partnership, it allows for a very clear to set them up for success.”

Sounds like the new boss has a way of getting his point across.


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