The biggest storyline for the Washington Capitals vs. Islanders series.
Just two short years ago, the Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights to win their first ever Stanley Cup. Leading the way behind the bench was none other than Barry Trotz, a coach who had never advanced past the second round up until that point.
Trotz guided the Caps through some midseason turmoil while coaching through a lame duck contract year with no talks of an extension going on. Back in November entering Thanksgiving, the team even had thoughts of letting him go as the team was going through a slump.
Fast forward to winning the Stanley Cup and soon after all the hoopla that comes from winning it, Trotz was sitting in General Manager Brian MacLellan’s office and the two couldn’t agree on a contract extension.
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Sources say that Trotz was seeking a five million dollar deal per season for five seasons. Five years was a non starter for the Caps given the short life NHL coaches have had. When it was clear that the two sides weren’t going to reach a deal, Trotz stepped down and resigned making it the biggest news facing the team since hoisting the Cup less than a few weeks ago.
It didn’t end there and soon the New York Islanders came calling and gave him the contract he was seeking all along. Instead of retiring, Trotz signed on with the Caps Metropolitan Division rival and the rest as we say is history.
Now Trotz looks to lead a young, scrappy Islanders team past the team he tasted the sport’s ultimate success with. Although this storyline will be all over the place, and yes we’re a guilty party now with this post, the Caps are more focused on the Islanders themselves, not their bench boss.
“Obviously a great matchup for the Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders. It’s not Barry Trotz versus Todd Reirden,” said Caps head coach Todd Reirden.
Since Trotz’s departure from Washington, the Caps and Islanders have split their four game regular season series for two seasons in a row. The Caps won the most recent game which took place on Jan. 18 behind a hat trick from Alex Ovechkin.
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“That group has a lot of pedigree. They’ve got a lot of star power and they’ve won a championship. They’re well-equipped in a lot of areas, so the biggest challenge is to play them even and play them hard, and they’ll do the same because I know a lot about that team,” said Trotz.
Trotz does know a lot about this team and that will present a challenge for the Caps but one they must accept and embrace. Trotz will always be a part of Caps history for helping them win their first Stanley Cup. Now both parties are trying to create their own history in the latest chapter of the Capitals vs. Islanders rivalry.