Eight seasons have passed since Blaine Forsythe joined the Capitals as a video coach, which means this latest coaching change will be his fourth. He came onboard under Glen Hanlon, lasted through the tenures of Bruce Boudreau, Dale Hunter and Adam Oates. On Monday morning at the team practice facility, Forsythe was last among the procession of assistant coaches meeting reporters, yet he the only one who was employed by Washington last month.
“I’m actually really excited,” Forsythe said. “I like the way we all envision everything too, and hopefully we can take it down the right path.”
In compiling their staff, Coach Barry Trotz and General Manager Brian MacLellan made concentrated efforts to welcome both familiar faces and new voices. Forsythe falls under the former category, held over alongside the entire scouting staff and front office, save the man MacLellan replaced, former general manager George McPhee. But among the assistant coaches Forsythe is the outlier, the one with intimate knowledge of the Capitals and what makes them tick.
“Obviously everyone comes from a little different area, other than Lane [Lambert] and Barry being together,” Forsythe said. “My biggest thing is learning from Barry, who’s been around. He’s seen a lot of different situations. I think he’s got a real strong pulse of this team coming in.
“He’s done his homework, he knows what he sees the issues are as far as building a winning team and I think he’s got a real good idea just based on my experience being around the team, being able to help him out as far as giving him some ins and outs of some personalities and stuff. I think he’s got a real strong feel for this team already.”
Forsythe’s role will be tweaked with the Capitals, his forwards duties handed over to Lambert, who spent three seasons on Trotz’s bench in Nashville. He will remain on the bench, where last season he found he could understand the game faster, though his duties might change as far as what he watches. He and Todd Reirden, formerly of the Penguins, will also handle the power play together, and Trotz wants Forsythe to tackle what he calls, “coaching analytics.”
“It’s more of the everyday stuff we use, what he sees as the game within the game,” Forsythe said. “I know [Trotz has] talked a lot about puck battles, all that stuff and just transferring what we see during the game, having it go to the players the next day, working with them and talking about different situations that we think they can do better. That’s kind of his plan on that. We’ve only been together for a day and a half, so we’ll get into it a little bit more. That’s the initial thought he has right now.”
Granted the chance to help educate Trotz and the new staff on past seasons, Forsythe instead reiterated what his new boss said when asked about the need for systematic improvements.
“I’ll echo what Barry’s said all along, and I agree, the team has to become a team again,” Forsythe said. “We’ve had flashes of that and obviously we all want to win, all the players in there want to win. We might have went down some paths we didn’t want to the last couple years, but the biggest thing is to get everyone on the same page again. We have great people in this organization, great players, great personalities and we just need to refocus and set our goals back to where we want to be. Having a guy like Barry will help us do that.”