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Reirden top candidate to become Capitals coach, GM says

Associate under Trotz will be interviewed next week, no others scheduled

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

DALLAS -- Todd Reirden could be the Washington Capitals coach by next week.

Reirden, a Washington assistant, will interview for the job vacated by Barry Trotz with general manager Brian MacLellan, who said it's Reirden's job to lose with no other candidates scheduled.


[RELATED: Trotz hired as Islanders coach after leaving Capitals]


"We're going to interview Todd next week, see how that goes," MacLellan said Thursday. "If it goes well, he's a likely candidate. And if not, we can open it up and try to find another guy."

Trotz, who coached the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup championship this season, resigned Monday after he was unable to agree on a new contract. He was named New York Islanders coach Thursday.

Reirden, who turns 47 on Monday, was on Trotz's coaching staff for his four seasons in Washington, the last two as associate coach. He previously was an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins and coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League.

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Reirden primarily has been responsible for the Capitals defensemen and their power play. Washington defenseman John Carlson had an NHL career-high 68 points (15 goals, 53 points) this season, and the Capitals were seventh on the power play at 22.5 percent.

"He's got history [with us] and he's ready to try it as a head coach and he's been successful with our defensemen," MacLellan said of Reirden. "I think he can handle the personalities in our room."

MacLellan said one of the reasons Reirden is a top candidate is because it would allow for a seamless transition from Trotz.

"The players all know him, they're comfortable with him," MacLellan said. "He'll have a good feel for personalities, how to motivate people and so forth."

Washington captain Alex Ovechkin on Wednesday addressed the possibility of Reirden becoming coach.

"If it's Todd, I'm sure lots of guys, everybody, is going to be really happy," Ovechkin said. "He's a guy who's a very good communicator, very good specialist, and has lots of respect from us."

MacLellan said he feels a formal interview with Reirden is necessary so he can ask him questions he would have asked Trotz.

"I just want to clarify on what he's thinking system-wise and how he's going to handle certain players," MacLellan said.

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