One interview was all the Caps needed to find their next head coach after Barry Trotz surprisingly left the club to take over the New York Islanders vacant position. In the aftermath of a troubling contract dispute with Trotz, the Caps have chosen a stabilizing force to take over the helm of a Stanley Cup-winning team.
Todd Reirden, who's spent the last two seasons as Washington's top assistant, was the perfect fit for the job. After impressing in his meeting with management, the Caps moved swiftly to sign him to a contract.
The Washington Capitals have named Todd Reirden the team’s head coach! #ALLCAPS— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 29, 2018
Reirden becomes the 18th head coach in #Caps history, after serving as an associate coach the last two seasons and assistant coach from 2014-16.
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"We feel that the time is right for Todd to lead our hockey club," said GM Brian MacLellan. "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."
As smooth as this transition sounds from the mouth of MacLellan, odds are it will not be nearly that simple. The Stanley Cup hangover is real, especially in hockey (considering you can literally drink out of the Cup). Just ask the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had to dig out of a deep hole after nosediving to start the 2017-18 season. Washington has the leadership to assure that doesn't happen, but how will a new head coach react to that reality, and the ebbs and flows that are sure to come during a long season?
Todd Reirden was the only person the Capitals interviewed for the head coaching vacancy.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 29, 2018
Reirden was the correct hire, especially considering how dried up the coaching market has been. Hopefully the Caps pick up right where they left off.