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Reirden named coach of Capitals, replaces Trotz

Was associate, assistant past four seasons for Stanley Cup champions

by Mike Battaglino / NHL.com Staff Writer

Todd Reirden was promoted to coach of the Washington Capitals on Friday.

Reirden, 47, will enter his fifth season with the Capitals after helping them win the Stanley Cup. He was an assistant from 2014-16 and associate coach the past two seasons, responsible for the defensemen and the power play.

He replaces Barry Trotz, who resigned June 18 and was hired as coach of the New York Islanders on June 21.

"We feel that the time is right for Todd to lead our hockey club," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said. "Based on his coaching experience, communication abilities, his approach to the game and the respect he commands in our locker room, we feel that Todd has earned this opportunity.

"Todd has played an integral part in helping lead our team to the Stanley Cup championship and we feel his appointment as head coach will enable our organization to transition seamlessly into next season and beyond."

Video: Todd Reirden is named the Capitals new head coach

Reirden was an assistant for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2010-14 and coached Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the American Hockey League for parts of two seasons from 2009-10. He interviewed for coaching jobs with the New Jersey Devils in 2015 (when John Hynes was hired) and the Calgary Flames in 2016 (when Glen Gulutzan was hired).

"He's a guy who's a very good communicator, very good specialist, and has lots of respect from us," Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said of Reirden on June 20.

A 12th-round pick (No. 242) by the New Jersey Devils in the 1990 NHL Draft, Reirden had 46 points (11 goals, 35 assists) in 183 NHL games as a defenseman with the Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Thrashers and Phoenix Coyotes.

"I feel like the whole coaching staff has been doing a great job over these years to teach us whatever it is, penalty kill, 5-on-5," Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said. "All of [the coaches have] an input on everything, which makes it probably easier for him. And he knows us too, as guys, which is going to help him."

Reirden as an assistant was primarily responsible for coaching the Capitals defensemen and power play.

"I think he did a great job taking everybody for being different people and seeing things different ways," defenseman John Carlson said. "I just think he seemed to connect with everyone's different personalities. I think he makes you look at the game a little bit differently."

The Capitals won the Stanley Cup for the first time in their 43-season history when they defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game 5 of the Final on June 7. In the days afterward, Trotz and MacLellan each said they wanted Trotz to return, but the sides could not agree on a contract extension, which led to his resignation.

The last time a team repeated as Stanley Cup champions with a first-time NHL coach in the second season was in 1969, when the Montreal Canadiens won with Claude Ruel. He succeeded Toe Blake, who retired after the Canadiens won the Cup in 1968.

"In the room and in practice he's always giving little tips to everyone," forward Devante Smith-Pelly said. "I think he taught me just a lot of little things positional-wise and things like that maybe other coaches never taught me. ... He did amazing job, obviously, with the defense and a big part of the whole run. So I think he'll do a great job and definitely help us defend the Cup."

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