I just don't think it's like this for very many former coaches. When the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup on Thursday night, the reaction by Predators fans, media and staff, was a universal outpouring of positive emotion. For me, it was heartwarming because of its simplicity: just a sincere appreciation for a special man - Barry Trotz.
It says a lot about the classiness of the Predators' fan base that they can put their own Stanley Cup aspirations aside and sincerely be happy for a competitor's success (believe me - we want it as badly as ever and we will be back!). But somehow Coach Trotz makes it easy.
The words of congrats continued Friday on the Preds Flagship Station 102.5 The Game. The "Darren and Daunic Show" had three interviews from people who go back to the beginning of Barry Trotz's history with the Predators franchise. They spoke not only of how the Capitals broke through for a championship after 44 years of existence, but also what they appreciate about coach Trotz as a person. Here is your guide...
1. Pete Weber
The voice of the Preds provides his own unique perspective, but also puts Trotz's achievements into historical context. Is Trotz now tracking toward the Hockey Hall of Fame?
2. Brent Peterson
The Predators former associate head coach was Trotz's right-hand man for more than a decade while Trotz patrolled the Nashville bench. The man they call "Petey" is as close to Barry as anyone in the organization. A true confidant. He spoke to us about what makes Trotz a great coach, what buttons he pushed with this Caps team, and what might be next for Trotz. For those not aware, Trotz coached the entire season without a contract for next season. With the Cup win, regardless of what the future holds, "Trotzy" is now in a very advantageous position.
3. Chris Mason
The Preds TV analyst and former goalie shared what it was like to play for Barry Trotz. He added a salute to his former goalie coach, Mitch Korn, who joined Trotz in Washington when he arrived in 2014. But perhaps the best thing Mason articulates is Coach Trotz's finest attribute - his personal touch. It's a true desire to get to know his players as people. And it doesn't stop there. He made the effort to get to know the families of his players, his coworkers, the members of the Nashville sports community and the Predators fans. Beyond the success, this is Trotz's lasting impression wherever he goes.
On a personal note, I was a relatively young professional broadcaster when Trotz and the Predators came to town in 1998. Not only did I have much to learn as an announcer, I had a ton to learn about the sport of hockey. Trotz made it easy with his patience. He understood quickly the situation he was in and the importance of growing the game in Nashville.
I certainly learned a lot from Trotzy about the game, but over time I think I enjoyed even more how he tried to connect and motivate his players to get the most out of them. This included many methods - tough love, positive reinforcement or even helping make sure someone had their life in order off the ice so they could be at their best on it.
All of this has had a great impact on me both as a person and a professional. My wife, Erin, and my children, Evans and Mahoney, would say the same thing.
So, you'd better believe we went airborne in the Daunic house like thousands of Predators fans when the final horn sounded on Thursday. We salute you, coach Trotz! Well deserved.
Now, Smashville - it's our turn next...