On Friday, the Nashville Predators will welcome back a familiar face, as the Washington Capitals come to town. Head coach Barry Trotz will make his first appearance in Nashville behind a new bench, after the team let him go last April.
In a conference call with the media Tuesday, Trotz talked openly about his time in Nashville, what he thought of the new-look Predators, and his adjustment to life in our nation’s capital.
Trotz had high praise for his former club, especially for Filip Forsberg and Pekka Rinne. Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
On returning home for the first time, Trotz said it will bring him a little closure.
“I’m excited to get back and see some friends and family. It’s good to go back home.” Trotz also said that he thinks he won’t make a mistake like David Legwand did when he went to the wrong penalty box in his return to Nashville.
“When I first got here, I would fumble and say ‘Nashville’ instead of ‘Washington’ in some of my interviews,” he said. “I think I’m past that.”
Trotz also talked about the hot start for his former team.
“I thought at first I might be a little jealous, but I must have matured,” he said. “I’m not jealous at all. I’m cheering for them.”
He had high praise for Predators rookie Filip Forsberg, who has 38 points so far this year.
“We knew he would be a terrific player when we first saw him,” Trotz said. “Last year, he was still very weak physically, and his game had a lot of stand-still in it. He’s a year older, and a year more mature. Now, he’s moving his feet, he’s got a lot of confidence, and that great release that he always had is still there.”
On the resurgence of Pekka Rinne, Trotz was happy for his former netminder.
“There’s a lot of people that you come across in this business that you love as your own children,” he said. “Pekka is one of them. I know how close he was to not playing again, and to see him not perform at the level he was capable of last year was very concerning. To me, he’s the MVP of the league. I haven’t seen a better goaltender this year.”
Trotz said he has embraced living in Washington D.C. Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
When asked about the transition from life in Nashville to life in Washington, Trotz was very candid.
“At first, it was a little difficult,” he said. “It’s a different type of city. I live in Arlington, which is a great community. I am a lot closer to the Verizon Center than I was to Bridgestone Arena. I can walk to work. It’s a different style of living.”
He told the media about one of his first road trips with the Capitals, in which he did not know how to get to Dulles Airport in Washington from the arena, so he had to follow one of his players to get there.
Trotz said his departure was a win-win for both himself and the Predators. Trotz needed a change of pace, while the Predators needed a new style of play and new voice.
“Lavy has done a fantastic job in Nashville, at it has been refreshing for me,” he said. “It was time for a new face in Nashville, and a new challenge for myself as well.”
Reflecting on his time in Nashville, Trotz hopes to be known not for his performance on the ice, but for building a lasting pastime of hockey in the South.
“I look at myself as part of a building process,” he said. “If I have any legacy in Nashville, it’s about being a stabilizing force and a builder of a hockey franchise in a very nontraditional market.”