Alex Ovechkin waited a long time for this first Stanley Cup. The 32-year-old solidified his legacy with a championship in his 13th NHL season — but you don’t have to look far to see another all-time great member of the Capitals with that one particular accomplishment previously missing from his résumé.
Barry Trotz has been an NHL coach since entering with the expansion Nashville Predators in 1998-99. He helped get that franchise off the ground and turned them into a playoff regular, but one that could never get past Round 2. Similar disappointment followed in his first three years in Washington, but on Thursday night he also earned his first Stanley Cup — in his 19th season.
The main storyline around his playoff run, though, was the fact he doesn’t have a contract that extends beyond the 2017-18 season. But after winning on Thursday night, both Trotz and Capitals GM Brian MacLellan signalled that they wanted to stick together.
“Oh absolutely,” Trotz told the media when asked if he saw a future with the Capitals. “Absolutely. I’m just in a good spot personally. I love what I do in Washington. I love the guys.”
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He echoed that sentiment on the ice moments after the Capitals clinched the win, though he stressed he would take some time to enjoy the moment before addressing his contract situation.
“I’m not even going to go there. I said to Brian there’s no reason that I don’t want to be there. No matter what happens, give me a couple of days to enjoy or not enjoy what happens,” Trotz said. “But … these are my kids. This is a pretty special group.
“We’ll talk. I’m not worried, one way or the other. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I don’t lose any sleep over it.”
As for his GM, MacLellan made his position clear.
“If he wants to be back, he’ll be back,” the Capitals manager said of his coach during the on-ice celebration.
As Sportnet’s Chris Johnston discussed on the broadcast, Trotz currently makes $1.5 million and is due for a big raise, perhaps in the neighbourhood of $5 million.
– With files from Luke Fox