Capitals Introduce the Refresh

Posted on May 28, 2014 by Steven Sullivan

Photo Credit: AP

            On Tuesday May 27th, the Washington Capitals formally introduced Brian MacLellan as the new general manager. This will be the first time the Capitals will have a new general manager in 17 years.

            The Capitals in addition announced the hiring of former Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz. Trotz will be the Capitals third head coach since Bruce Boudreau was fired during the 2011-2012 season.  The Capitals have found the right men for their perspective positions. 

            The announcement of the hires came on Memorial Day. The organization held the press conference Tuesday to divulge how they came to their decisions.

            In his blog, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, describes how he came to the decision to make Brian MacLellan the new GM.  “Of course Brian has incredible knowledge regarding all the players in our system, but what impressed us was his philosophy when it came to all personnel matters,” owner Leonsis said.

            Leonsis during the press conference revealed that he and President Dick Patrick interviewed 15 people for the GM position. “As we interviewed others, we found ourselves immediately comparing them with Brian,” Leonsis wrote.

            With the GM in place the Capitals were able to pin point who they wanted as head coach. Ted Leonsis made it clear during the press conference, Barry Trotz was No. 1 on their list.

             MacLellan talked to Lonsis and Patrick about his admiration for Trotz’s team, “Brian shared that he always admired how Barry structured his team and when he was scouting Barry’s team, he was impressed that they always were well prepared and difficult to play against,” Leonsis wrote.

            Key elements to the GM and head coach hires were that they work together and share the same philosophy about hockey. MacLellen was emphatic that if Trotz were not in agreement with decisions, he wouldn’t carry them out.

            Both, Brian MacLellan and Barry Trotz have ties to the Capitals organization. The past seven seasons MacLellan has served as the assistant GM. In addition, he has been the Capitals pro scout and the team’s director of personnel. Barry Trotz was a Capitals scout initially. Later on in his career he was the Capitals AHL club’s head coach for five seasons.

            With the Capitals new GM and head coach now in place, the focus shifts to the team. Trotz is fully aware of the team he had in Nashville, “I don’t want to take away anything from the Capitals identity,” Trotz said. This indicates he does not want to apply Nashville’s system to the Capitals.

            The Capitals problem has not been scoring, but defense, something Trotz is aware of. He understands defense is a necessity in order for the Capitals to utilize their offensive gifts. “They are able to score goals, but we gotta keep them out of the net… Defense is about getting the puck quickly so you can do something offensively,” Trotz said.

            There is still work to be done and MacLellen is open to tweaking the roster if necessary, “I’m going to explore all opportunities to improve the team during the draft and at the draft,” MacLellen said. With the two foundational pieces in place the Capitals can focus back on perusing the Stanley Cup. As owner Ted Leonsis reinforced to the fans, it’s a refresh, not a rebuild.









Posted in: Washington Capitals
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