Between looking for a home, packing 16 years of belongings and calling each of his players one by one, Barry Trotz has had an eventful first week as head coach of the Capitals.
His next order of business will be assembling additional members of his coaching staff.
“I’ve talked with all current staff and now I’m just trying to fill some holes,” Trotz said Tuesday. “I’m working with [new general manager] Brian [MacLellan] to do that and hopefully we can go forward and whatever perceived holes we have we can correct.
“Last week was all, I would say, sort of an investigation on getting a lay of the land. And this week will be sort of putting a few things in motion if we can.”
When George McPhee and Adam Oates were relieved of their duties as general manager and head coach, Capitals president Dick Patrick said that remaining team personnel would remain on staff until the club appointed a new coach and general manager.
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The Caps’ current staff includes former Caps defenseman Calle Johansson, who under Oates worked with the team’s blue liners; assistant coach Blaine Forsythe, who worked with the forwards; goaltending coach Olie Kolzig; associate goalie coach Scott Murray; video coach Brett Leonhardt; and strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish.
Trotz has a history with Kolzig, recommending the Capitals draft him in 1989 when Trotz was working for the Caps as a western Canada scout.
“There are certain areas I think there’s really good people there, but at the same time I think there a couple areas we can improve upon,” Trotz said. “Some areas obviously you want to bring in people you’ve dealt with to fill some of those holes and that’s what I’m in the process of doing right now.”
The Capitals’ minor league affiliate, the Hershey Bears, also have an opening for a head coach with the departure of Mike Haviland to Colorado College. In all likelihood, Trotz will have a say in who gets the job in Hershey.
Among the potential candidates to join Trotz in the Caps organization are former Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel, former Florida Panthers head coach Peter Horachek, Predators assistant coach Lane Lambert, former Team Canada assistant coach Doug Shedden, Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach Dave Farrish, Syracuse Crunch head coach Rob Zettler and former Canucks assistant coach Mike Sullivan.
Whoever joins Trotz on his staff, he said the relationship between him and the Bears’ next head coach will be an integral part of the Capitals forging a better relationship with their AHL affiliate, an affiliation that was recently extended with a one-year contract.
“I think the relationship between the head coach and the minor-league coach is paramount if you want to develop players and you want to have the right culture,” Trotz said.
“There’s no entitlement. If a guy is playing well and deserves to come up, he should come up, no matter what his draft status is. That doesn’t matter.
“I think if you’re in the minor leagues you’re close enough to the National Hockey League and if you’re the best player down there you want to reward that player so you send the right message to the players in the minors, that if you play well and an opportunity opens up, you’re the guy coming up.
“You can’t have entitlement. It sends a bad message through the organization and it cuts the legs off the minor-league coach. That decision process has to be very good. You want accountability through every person in the organization.”