LAS VEGAS — Barry Trotz sat at the podium in the bowels of T-Mobile Arena as the Washington Capitals continued celebrating their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history. He was relaxed and hydrating with a bottle of water, something he’d regularly remind the media to do at the end of each of his press conferences.
He was a man without a worry, and rightly so having finally won a Cup after 19 seasons of coaching in the NHL.
Trotz said he was in a “good place” personally. He entered the 2017-18 season without a contract beyond July 1 and now celebrates a championship with unknown future. But according to Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan, that decision is entirely up to the head coach at this point.
“He’s under contract until July 1st. He just won a Stanley Cup. So if he wants to be back, he’ll be back,” MacLellan said after the Capitals’ 4-3 Cup-clinching victory over the Vegas Golden Knights Thursday night.
There’s only one head coach vacancy in the NHL now that the New York Islanders have moved on from Doug Weight, but Trotz has more important things on his mind at the moment.
“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.”
MacLellan likely used the playoffs as a gauge for deciding whether to offer Trotz an extension. Had they failed to comeback against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round or fell once again to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference semifinal, it may have been easier to part ways. But despite trailing in every series, the Capitals recovered and are now champions.
Now it seems that what once was an iffy situation has been given a little clarity. Winning does that. Trotz still believes he has a future in Washington.
“Oh, absolutely. Absolutely,” he said.