Stanley Cup Final coaches are two pucks in a pod

Updated June 2, 2018 - 2:23 pm

If you were a blogger from Mystery, Alaska, or some place like that, and were sitting among the hockey press corps after Washington’s 3-2 victory over the Golden Knights in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, you may have noticed physical and philosophical similarities between the coaches.

They’re like two pucks in a pod.

The Knights’ Gerard Gallant and the Capitals’ Barry Trotz sort of look alike, talk alike, share a similar impatience for impertinent queries. Sometimes they bristle and get their dander up, like a wolverine in the presence of a wolf, porcupine or somebody who graduated from Ohio State.

Gallant says he doesn’t read blogs or newspapers, except the Prince Edward Island Guardian, to catch up on what’s happening back home.

Trotz begins or ends a news conference — or both — by telling the hockey media to stay hydrated.

It may sound dismissive, but a wise man from Saskatoon told me that when you play hockey in May and June, it gets hot in Tampa Bay and Las Vegas.

That’s why you’ve got to stay hydrated.

Gallant effort

Gerard Gallant spent 10 NHL seasons as a player during which his specialty was the Gordie Howe hat trick — a goal, assist and fight in the same game.

These two sentences from his Wikipedia biography typify the kind of the player he was: “In his first NHL game, he scored against Islanders goaltender Billy Smith in the second period of a 5-4 victory that snapped a 12-game Red Wings’ winless streak. In his second game, he fought Rangers’ forward Bob Burke.”

During one four-season stretch, Gallant scored 38, 34, 39 and 36 goals. With 216, 242, 230 and 254 penalty minutes.

Howe would have been proud.

Gallant’s first coaching assignment was with his hometown Summertime Capitals of the Maritime Junior Hockey League. His last before being dubbed by the Knights was with the Florida Panthers who kicked him to the curb, or at least left him standing on one, waiting for a taxi, after he was fired between periods against the Caroline Hurricanes.

This may not be the quintessential example of overcoming professional adversity. But it may rank in the top three.

Hot to Trotz

Unlike his Vegas counterpart, who scored 211 goals in 616 games, Barry Trotz had much more modest statistics as an NHL player: 0 goals, 0 games.

Trotz made it only as far as training camp with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears in 1982. He began his coaching career as an assistant at the University of Manitoba in 1984, and 13 years later was named coach of the expansion Nashville Predators.

You’ve heard of meteoric rises to the top of one’s profession? Trotz’s wasn’t one.

Also unlike his Vegas counterpart, he would not guide the Predators to the Stanley Cup Final in their first season. But by the time he was kicked to the curb in 2014, Trotz had coached in 1,196 games, making him the longest tenured head coach in the stick-and-ball sports outside of Gregg Popovich of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.

When Trotz’s playing career ended abruptly, an executive in Hershey named Jack Button predicted he “might make a good minor league leader or coach someday.”

This might not have been the quintessential example of understating potential. But it may rank in the top three.

‘Two good guys’

Other than the duration of their NHL playing careers, the consensus among hockey people is that Gerard Gallant and Barry Trotz easily could be confused on a darkened frozen pond.

“I think they are very similar,” ESPN analyst and former L.A. Kings coach Barry Melrose said Friday after the Capitals skated at their spiffy rooftop practice facility in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River. “Both are the kind of coaches that players like to play for. They don’t try to invent the wheel.

“They’re old school; they look at analytics but they don’t build their team around analytics, because a lot of what makes a team great is heart and passion and things like that. So they use the eye test also. Two good guys, two guys who paid a price to be here, two guys who went to work in the minors, played in the minors, scouted. They deserve to be here.”

Two good guys, one of whom will have an upper hand on Lord Stanley’s Cup after Saturday’s Game 3 in the shadow of the Washington Monument, and a lot of other monuments.

As Barry Trotz likes to say, stay hydrated. It’s about to get warm inside Capital One Arena.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: Knights Win Third Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen go over the Knights 7-2 win over the L.A. Kings.
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Golden Edge: Vegas Fans Show their Love at Fan Fest
Bryan Salmond is on the red carpet at the downtown Las Vegas Events Center as the 2018-2019 Golden Knights show up for Fan Fest.
Golden Edge: Knights Back From Colorado
Golden Knights reporters Adam Hill and Ben Gotz talk about Knights preseason training camp and how Max Pacioretty is fitting in with the Knights.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — September 17, 2018
Ben Gotz answers questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Golden Edge: Knights Win First Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, David Schoen, Ben Gotz and Adam hill recap the Golden Knights first preseason game win against the Arizona Coyotes.
Golden Edge: First Practice
Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss the first day of practice for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights Presser Max Pacioretty
Max Pacioretty speaks about his first impressions coming to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Mailbag
Ben Gotz answers questions submitted from Golden Knights' fans about recent roster changes.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Rookies Faceoff Against The Sharks Good
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond breaks down the 5-4 loss the Golden Knights rookies had against the San Jose Sharks.
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects after a breakout season in Sweden. He slid to the fifth round in the 2017 draft after being projected to be selected much higher. “I wasn’t happy about being a fifth-rounder. But it was good for me, too, because I didn’t have so much pressure when I came here," Elvenes said. Elvenes posted five goals and 16 points in 28 games while playing in the top league in Sweden. The Knights signed Elvenes to a three-year, entry-level contract in June.
Golden Knights rookie camp - Day 2
The Golden Knights held their second day of rookie camp at City Arena in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Golden Edge: Deryk Engelland Rides With Kurt Busch
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond heads to city national arena and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to see Kurt Busch attempt to learn how to play hockey, and Deryk Engelland hop in a race car.
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
Golden Edge: Floor Hockey Clinic
Bryan Salmond travels to the Paradise Recreational Center for the Las Vegas Golden Knights floor hockey clinic with special guest Golden Knights defenseman and Mark Messier Leadership Award winner Deryk Engelland.
Golden Edge: Off Season Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Knights free angency and signing Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury on his three-year extension: To stay in Vegas a long time was big
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said he's glad he'll be a part of the team for a long time. Fleury spoke about signing a three-year contract extension at a news conference at the City National Arena in Las Vegas on Friday.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, July 5
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Golden Edge: Free Agency Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat writer David Schoen go over the latest free agency news from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Knights Host Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights second day of scrimmage at City National Arena.
Golden Edge: Prospects Prepare For Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights getting ready to participate in a scrimmage for the next few days.
Golden Edge: Previous Prospects Fight For Spot
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over day two of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Edge: One-On-One With Reid Duke
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond interviews Golden Knights prospect Reid Duke.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Wednesday, June 27
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Development Camp
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Golden Knights development camp and how the prospects are looking to improve their game.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 26, 2018
David Perron, James Neal set to leave Golden Knights
David Perron, James Neal set to leave Golden Knights Perron and Neal were key contributors on the second line for the Knights, helping the expansion team to the Pacific Division and Western Conference championships. Perron’s agent, Allan Walsh, told the Review-Journal on Sunday that the Knights have not made a new contract offer since the season ended. Neal turned down a five-year, $25 million offer from the Knights at the trade deadline, according to the Calgary Sun.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like