Angry Barry Trotz is Angry (GIF)

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With 2:16 left in the game, a tired Washington Capitals first-line iced the puck after a flurry of activity in front of Braden Holtby‘s net. Marcus Johansson‘s stick had been partially broken during the previous play so he asked to get a new twig before the face-off. Officials denied him.

To prove his stick was broken, Johansson bowed down and put his weight on it. It broke. The officials ushered him to the box for delay of game. They thought Johansson was trying to buy time for his tired teammates.

Barry Trotz exploded. He literally exploded.

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Photo credit: Christian Petersen

Coming into 2014-15, Jay Beagle had never scored more than four goals in a season. For a fourth line center, that’s fine. Under Barry Trotz, however, Beagle’s playing time has increased. When the Caps took the ice against the Leafs on Sunday, Beagle was slotted in the top-six alongside Marcus Johansson and Troy Brouwer. By the end of the game, Beagle was the top-line right wing, a position he has occupied many times this season.

But here’s the rub: despite a career-high nine goals and 17 points for Beagle, he brings Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom down. I love Beagle. He’s a great face-off man, a solid fourth liner, and a fantastic guy. He is not, however, qualified to play on the first line. Analytics — and the singularly important eye test — back this up. Trotz disagrees though.

“Beagle’s like my lucky charm,” Trotz told reporters when asked about the rotating right-wing spot. “When I put him up there ,we score. I know you analytics guys don’t like his numbers, but we score and get back in the game. There’s reasons for that.”

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Photo: @SergeyKocharov

It was a slushy, dreary night in the District. But inside Verizon Center, there were many happy times. Alex Ovechkin nearly had a hat trick — hilariously falling over in the making of his first goal — as the Caps defeated shutout the Maple Leafs 4-0.

But the best moment came after the game, when Barry Trotz’s son Nolan, who has Down syndrome joined his dad for his postgame press conference.

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On Tuesday, Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz spoke to Sportsnet during their Hockey Central broadcast. In the interview Trotz gave an update on Mike Green’s future and shared his feelings on the coaching of Alex Ovechkin before last summer.

“I think there were some things that probably happened before I was here that led to certain things,” Trotz said, speaking in broad terms. “There was some bad advice given to Ovi at times in how they wanted him to play.”

“Ovi’s a guy that will do what you ask,” he continued. “He’s bluntly honest. It’s actually a strength, not a weakness.”

This year, Trotz has moved Ovechkin back to left wing and demanded more of him defensively. Ovechkin leads the league in goals, and the Capitals are challenging for the division lead.

“I made it pretty simple,” Trotz said. “When you have the puck do what you do. When you don’t have the puck, I want you to do what I want you to do. If you do that, you’ll have the puck more.”

The full transcription of his interview with Sportsnet is below.

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To celebrate the Washington Capitals 40th anniversary on Sunday night, CSN Washington unearthed amazing footage of Olie Kolzig getting drafted 26 years ago. The video shows Caps director of player personnel Jack Button selecting the mammoth goaltender from the WHL’s Tri-City Americans on June 17, 1989.

“And you know the Washington Capitals need a goalie,” current lead play-by-play man of HNIC Jim Hughson said way back then. “Obviously, they can’t think that Olie The Goalie, as he’s called with the Tri-City Americans, will step in and lead them to a championship right away, but the first goaltender comes from the Western Hockey League. He’s the eighth Western Leaguer taken in this draft. Olaf Kolzig to the Washington Capitals.”

Wow, those comments are perfect. Also perfect: the mullets.

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Photo: Debora Robinson

Since December, Andre Burakovsky‘s usage in the Caps lineup has been curious as Barry Trotz has had to juggle playing time among veteran and younger players. Coming into Sunday’s game, the skilled young Swede had not received more than nine minutes of ice time since the beginning of February. He’d been used as a fourth-line center, a second-line winger, and a first line winger. He had been scratched in three of the team’s last four games.

But in Burakovsky’s return to the lineup on Sunday against Anaheim, The Burracuda scored twice off of two amazing primary assists from Alex Ovechkin. He played nearly 13 minutes on the team’s first line.

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I want to start by saying I genuinely like Barry Trotz. I think he’s a good man and a good coach. He’s brought with him to Washington some of the brightest minds in hockey, he’s reversed a decline in the organization, and he’s helped Alex Ovechkin become a more complete player. I don’t think Trotz has gotten enough credit for that. He is exactly what fans wanted last summer: an experienced head coach.

But now that we’re more than halfway through the season, I see some worrying trends in this organization that reach all the way down to the AHL level.

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What Barry Trotz Doesn’t Want When the Caps Have a Lead

Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

There’s been a lot written about the Caps’ play with a lead lately both here and elsewhere. And then there were Barry Trotz’s postgame comments following the loss to the Oilers last week that left some people scratching their heads. It’s a popular topic for good reason. The Caps are fourth in the league in possession when trailing and ninth when tied, but they fall to 17th when they have a lead.

Trotz recently expanded on his thoughts on the team’s play with a lead to Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post.

“A good example of that was end of the second period. There’s 20 seconds left, just make a good play or get it out and don’t try to be too fine. That’s to me managing the game and managing the situation.”

Psssssst. Hey, Marcus Johansson. Your head coach is talking about you.

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What Is Barry Trotz Talking About?

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“I think we took our foot off the gas,” Jay Beagle said to the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt after Tuesday’s loss to Edmonton. “[We] kind of let teams creep back in.”

Surrendering two two-goal leads in in the last few games invites that sort of comment, and the media pressed Trotz about the Capitals’ lack of aggression during the postgame conference.

Trotz’s response was so confusing I might have an aneurysm before I finish this.

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For a decade and a half, Barry Trotz WAS the Nashville Predators. He was the team’s first coach, bringing hockey to Music City and (possibly apocryphally) naming the team.

When Trotz came back to town for the first time, this time as coach of the Capitals, you just knew Nashville would welcome him with a big gesture. He’s that important to the city.

Early in the first period, the Predators debuted this touching video. The organization also thanked assistant coaches Lane Lambert and Mitch Korn.

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