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2018 NHL Stadium Series Postgame comments from Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz; players, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson

Barry Trotz

Alexander Ovechkin waiting for a pass 2016 photo by Michael Miller - Own work via wikipedia commons

John Carlson Washington on ice 2016 photo By Michael Miller - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series Post-Game Transcript
Capitals 5, Maple Leafs 2
March 3, 2018

An Interview with:
COACH BARRY TROTZ
ALEX OVECHKIN
JOHN CARLSON

COACH BARRY TROTZ

COACH TROTZ: Before you ask me a question, I just want to thank the Navy, the NHL, and special thanks to all the guys who are working on the rink. The conditions were excellent considering the wind and all that the last few days.

And I know I ran into a couple of guys at the hotel and they did an excellent job. NHL and the Navy, you see how special this campus is. So want to put that out there. Those guys worked hard.

Q. This is the team’s best performance in a few weeks now. Is this a game that you think you can build on going forward?
COACH TROTZ: Well, I think it’s one of the games. I mean, I can go back to a game in Minnesota I thought was our top game of the year. This is a good game.

It was a big game, big stage, obviously, against a very good team that’s probably the hottest team since I think probably the All-Star break.

And I thought we did the right things. We were skating. We were putting pressure on the puck. We had people in the right areas and we were committed in the right area.

So it was a good performance, because we had a couple that we probably could say wouldn’t be our best.

Q. When your top players are performing like they did today early on in their game, making a statement, how much of a ripple effect does that have on the rest of the guys?
COACH TROTZ: You follow your top guys, and I thought tonight you look at Backstrom, Ovechkin and Wilson, that line led, and Kuznetsov followed that. And on the back end, I thought our defense core as a group were really solid. And I thought Holts had a real good response, especially in the second period he had a couple of big saves for us.

So every team follows their leaders, and when your leaders are dialed in, I thought they were dialed in tonight. I thought they just pulled the rest of the group.

Q. Obviously memorable week for you and the players. Going into the California trip next week, are there going to be any particular memories that stand out that are going to help the team and help you whether they’re something technical from tonight’s game or something sentimental?
COACH TROTZ: I think this is one of those games where it was special just because of the setting and the presentation that was there. But I think you can see when you’re all dialed in and you’re playing the right way, you get a little bit of that joy back in our game. And I thought we had some joy in our game. We had a few chuckles on the bench.

It was good. It was a good vibe on our bench. And usually when that’s a good vibe on our bench then we’re usually a pretty good hockey team.

Q. For Vrana to score his first goal in two-plus months or whatever it’s been on this stage, what does that do for his confidence going forward?
COACH TROTZ: I think he would be tremendous on the bench. I said you got the monkey off your back. He had the biggest smile. He looked up and I know he’s been playing real good hockey for us, just hasn’t gotten the results.

He’s a young guy, with a big goal like that is huge for him and his confidence. And I think he’ll hopefully have a good streak here.

Q. You mentioned it was a good soundtrack for Holtby, for him — how much do you think, I guess, this past stretch of six losses — was it just some bad bounces? Where have you seen his game go to have you be encouraged to stick with him?
COACH TROTZ: I think it was all of the above. But over the course of three-plus years, he’s won 120 games roughly for us. And just like any player, you know, early in the year Gruby couldn’t get a win, playing really well, getting wins, and you play, you sort of doubt yourself and your play sort of falls off and then you have to go steal one.

I thought Holts really responded well. The first time you go through things. Holts hasn’t lost a lot of games in a row since I’ve been here anyways.

And it’s difficult because you’re going into unchartered waters and you’re wondering if it’s you, if it’s the team. You’re looking for answers and sometimes the answers are just right there. You’ve got to just dial yourself in, don’t doubt yourself and also just go out and almost steal one.

But didn’t have to. I thought the team responded real well in front of him. And I thought on this stage, you know, he’s a guy that has a lot of, I’ll say, has experience in this, but they didn’t practice on the ice.

We didn’t get a chance to do a lot of things that you usually do in these events, just because of the weather. And I thought he responded really well.

So I think the experience factor for Holts probably was a major factor in him bouncing back and having a good game tonight.

Q. As great as the game was, all the guys performed well. It’s hard to find thing that didn’t go well. If you were looking for a coaching moment, what is the one thing you can –
COACH TROTZ: Well, the coaching moment for me was just being in this event. I mean, right at the start the anthem and the planes going over and seeing some of our service people, obviously all the Midshipmen all around the rink, and you’re looking at these young men who serve us and give us the privilege to do what we get to do, the freedoms that we have.

And today my coaching moment was actually not on the ice but underneath when I was running into some of those Midshipmen and asking where they were or where they’re from, what they were — what areas of the Navy they were sort of focused in on.

That was probably my greatest moment today is meeting some of the young people who are serving our country.

ALEX OVECHKIN

Q. Alex, how did the atmosphere tonight compare to previous outdoor games? I think this was your third.
ALEX OVECHKIN: Yeah, every outdoor game, like I say, is unbelievable. Like right before we get on the bus, lots of fans, lots of intensity and you get into it right away.

Q. Seemed like you and Kuznetsov and Backstrom were ready from the jump to perform, and you did, starting with that first period. Did you feel like you had a little more energy tonight and put on a show out there?
ALEX OVECHKIN: I think we did, like the power play helped us a lot to get into the game. We shoot the puck more than our opponents and we scored two big goals. And when you get the lead, you just feel it right away, and it helps a lot.

Q. This is one of the team’s best performances in recent weeks given the team’s current struggles. Is this a game you can build on before the road trip?
ALEX OVECHKIN: Yeah, obviously the next road trip is going to be huge for us. We need the points. We need to collect the points. I said a couple of days ago it doesn’t matter if it’s two or one. We have to guard the points and move forward. Obviously tonight was a huge one. And we’ll take it and we’ll move forward.

Q. You said it was going to be hard to get to 600 but you got your 40th goal. That’s nine times for you. What does it mean to get that consistency back? Nine times you’ve done that and not many guys have.
ALEX OVECHKIN: I would say that it’s my teammates, they did a great job finding me over there. I just have to do my job to put a puck in and it’s working and — I just have to put the puck in and do my job.

Q. Does that number mean anything to you?
ALEX OVECHKIN: 40 is nice, but 50 is better. So still have time to do that. But again I have to focus, I have to keep playing, easy chances and it will come.

JOHN CARLSON

Q. Why don’t you take us through when you’re walking into the building, what you saw of the atmosphere and just sort of your emotions through that?
JOHN CARLSON: It reminded me a lot when I came here to unveil the jersey. It was senior night, their last home game of the season, and they needed to win to be eligible for a bowl game. I thought they brought good energy there and it felt like that.

Q. How much of a boost is it when the top players on the team are going like they were early in the game today and throughout most of it?
JOHN CARLSON: I think especially at the start, that’s important. The leaders of team we rely on them the most. And when they come out hot like that, I think everyone else kind of follows suit.

Q. Did you feel like you guys maybe raised your game to this stage, one of your more complete games in a while?
JOHN CARLSON: I think we navigated the game. I think we’ve been a little off in terms of that, when to push, when to maybe be a little more safe, when to be real aggressive. And I think tonight with the conditions, we had our mind set in a good place for that sort of thing.

And I think it seemed like we were on the right side of the puck all night. We weren’t really ever getting beat for breakaways and odd-man rushes.

We were in good position and the work ethic was there to get back and make sure that we were in good standing and keeping them to the outside.

Q. Was there any special significance for you being an American on such a special stage with the U.S. curlers in town and the women’s USA Hockey team? Did you realize those moments and take significance from that?
JOHN CARLSON: It was special. The women’s team and also the curlers, the people that we followed closely during the Olympics, obviously. And it was cool to have them in the building.

It was cool to see the fans’ reaction to them. They’ve been, especially the women’s team has been doing a lot of stuff media-wise throughout the country but also in DC the past couple of days.

So to see the rise they got out of a lot of fans and all that kind of stuff throughout the area was really cool. And it was a heck of a job by both of those teams to bring back gold.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

 

TRANSCRIPT WRITTEN  BY ASAP SPORTS; COURTESY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS AND NHLmedia.com