The night before his formal introduction as the new coach of the Capitals, Barry Trotz was up until midnight with new general manager Brian MacLellan.
The two men, who had met only a week earlier, connected as they exchanged ideas and philosophies Monday night.
“We’ve spent a lot of time together in a very short time,” Trotz said Tuesday. “We do have a lot of the same visions in almost every aspect. We’re pretty close. It’s really good right now because we can do something really, hopefully special together.”
The shared vision and instantaneous chemistry between Trotz and MacLellan are essential to repositioning the Capitals as a perennial contender after they missed the playoffs this season for the first time in seven years.
“One of the things I like about Barry’s style of coaching is … it’s a consistent, disciplined style every game,” MacLellan said. “He demands that of them. I think that’s the kind of change that would benefit our organization.”
MacLellan made it clear in his presentation to team ownership that any apparent organizational rift will undermine any potential success.
“The important point I was trying to make is I think the team feels when there’s a disconnect or there’s not a unified philosophy from ownership to management to coach,” MacLellan said. “I thought we all have to have a team approach going forward.”
Perceived tension between former coach Adam Oates and former GM George McPhee likely played a role in their demise and the team’s struggles.
MacLellan emphasized the importance of conferring with Trotz on matters relating to the franchise.
“Any moves we’re making, any development calls we’re making, Barry has to be in line with that or we don’t make the call,” MacLellan said. “If I want a guy up, if I want to see him for a little while, evaluate him, Barry’s got to be in line with that. He can’t say, ‘No, I’m not going to play him.’ And I know what Barry wants too. We’re in sync so far.”