Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz has figured out that cutting ties with an organization after 17 years isn't easy, so he has stopped trying.
Trotz said he has made time to follow the Nashville Predators this season, and he likely always will, particularly because after nearly two decades with the franchise he now calls Nashville home.
"I check the scores. I've talked to [Predators general manager] David Poile a few times," Trotz said. "I thought at first if they had success I'd be a little bit jealous, but I haven't been at all. I'm actually cheering like heck for them because of the relationship I have with David and a lot of the staff there, and all the players."
Trotz said he has enjoyed seeing goalie Pekka Rinne's strong return to the net this season after missing most of last season following hip surgery and a subsequent infection.
Rinne is the biggest reason why the Predators are second in the Central Division with 48 points. He has 23 wins, including three shutouts, a 1.81 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in 30 starts this season.
"Just watching him play goal, I've seen this," Trotz said. "If we had him last year I think we would have made it to the playoffs."
The Predators missed by three points last season. Trotz's contract was not renewed. He was replaced by Peter Laviolette.
"I always say a goalie like [Rinne] is worth 20 points in the standings," Trotz said. "That's how we made it every year. We had good enough defense, could score enough, and we had a great goaltender.
"But I thought I'd be jealous, and I'm not at all. I'm really happy for them. There are too many good people there that I know so I cheer for them."
Trotz said he looks forward to the day when he's retired and can take his grandkids to a Predators game at Bridgestone Arena.
"A great thing about starting with an expansion team in a non-traditional market, we did some good things in some trying conditions, and I can someday go with my grandkids to an NHL game in Nashville, Tennessee," Trotz said. "To me, that's as big as anything."