Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Trotz Era Begins in Washington

The Caps first coach to come to Washington with NHL coaching experience since Ron Wilson in 1997, Barry Trotz, makes his debut as bench boss for the Capitals on Thursday.  He's already instilled subtle changes in the locker room that will be interesting to watch. A rope line around the Caps logo on the floor of the locker room, placed there so no one can walk on it. Corny, yes, but can the little things turn around the country club culture that started years ago?

Another change is the leadership group, consisting of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Brooks Orpik, Troy Brouwer, Brooks Laich, John Carlson and Jason Chimera, that he uses to discuss the direction he wants to take the Caps.  This is an approach Trotz used in Nashville. Hopefully, the group will take the pressure off Ovie. Having Orpik helps with this, too.

Trotz starts his debut with the Caps lacking personnel for a key element of a winning hockey team, depth down the middle. The Caps don't have a second line center.  For those keeping score, this deficiency has hampered the Caps since Alex Ovechkin steamrolled onto the scene in 2005. Second line centers aren't easy to come by, particularly on the open market, so it's best to develop players for that position.  Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky are both playing center with some skill, but Burakovsky is a rookie winger, not center, and Kuznetsov played wing his last couple of years in Russia and is awful on face offs, 18.5% in his 27 tries last season. That weakness continues.

Read more here.

Let's go Caps!

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