The person who claimed that good guys always finish last never met Barry Trotz.
Trotzy was the Nashville Predators first coach. He was an ambassador for the foreign sport of hockey when the expansion team was hatched in Nashville.
He held clinics on Hockey 101. He loved explaining the rules to those of us in the media and fans thought icing was what you put on top of a cake.
Slowly, but surely, Predators fans caught on to the game. It was slow at first. After all, it was a foreign language.
Games in the middle of the weeks back then failed to draw what you would dare call a crowd, more likely they were neighbors that didn’t have anything other to do and accepted free tickets from their companies or friends.
But Trotzy and others versed in the game remained patient. No question was a dumb question, Trotzy thought. But, oh, how he was wrong.
Before the Predators took a chance to hire Trotz, he had coached in the minor leagues before getting a break when General Manager David Poile hired him on August 6, 1997.
The first team won 28 games. Smashville, it was not. The team took baby steps, but today the Capitals coach has a smile a mile long.
It could not happen to a more worthy person/coach. He is a strong family man with wife, Kim and four children giving him support when he coached the Predators from 1998 to 2014.
Poile decided the team needed a change and let Trotz go. Poile turned to Peter Laviolette and it has paid off.
As for Trotz, his Capitals contract was in the final year. He coached a Stanley Cup champion team by taking out expansion team Las Vegas while the Predators were eliminated for the second straight year.
Trotzy was aglow when he hoisted the Stanley Cup above his head. I’m not sure, but it looked to me that the Cup and Trotzy are pretty close if placed side by side.
He finally got what he had dreamed all his life. The native Canadian deserved it, as did the Capitals, a team whose fanbase had come up short for years. But the Caps beat the Golden Knight 4-1 in what was the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title.
It could not have gone to a more deserving coach and a team that broke the long lingering years only to come up short in search of the Stanley Cup. No longer can they be called the Crapitals.
How deserving, good guy. You go, eh?
Joe Biddle is a WKRN sports analyst. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.