Joel Ward says his Washington Capitals teammates might want to clear some study time before dinner now that Barry Trotz is their coach.
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"On ice, I expect us to be a lot more detailed, I think," Ward told CSN Washington on Saturday. "You'll get a sense of that right away; there might be some homework at times."
Ward expects those assignments will pay off. The forward played his first full NHL season under Trotz with the Nashville Predators in 2008-09. The 35 points (17 goals) Ward scored that season were his career high until he put up 49 (24 goals) for the Capitals last season.
Trotz was hired May 26 to replace Adam Oates after Washington failed to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007.
"It's going to be fun, [but] at the same time, it's going to be a hard-working team," Ward told Chuck Gormley. "From my years of experience in Nashville, we weren't the most talented I'd say on paper, but we always found a way of just being hard-working and earning our grit in points."
Washington finished 38-30-14 last season, fifth in the Metropolitan Division and three points out of the second Eastern Conference wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Trotz made it a priority to reach out to captain Alex Ovechkin this summer, and the two spoke at the NHL Awards in June.
"I think [Barry is] going to make sure that we're all very close together and closer as a unit on and off the ice," Ward said.