Barry Trotz’s post-game press conference after Nashville’s 2-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes started as normal as it possibly could. However, as his press conference wrapped up, Trotz became seemingly more defensive about his coaching style, prompting an answer to a question that wasn’t asked by any of Nashville’s media.
The final question of the night, asked by Predlines.com’s editor Thomas Willis, was a very simple one: Could he talk for a moment about Pekka Rinne, his franchise record in goaltending wins, and what it means for him to emerge like he has. Trotz started his answer in a very normal fashion:
“We’ve been blessed with pretty good goaltending and the goaltenders have made themselves. We can pat everybody on the back, but a lot has to do with their makeup. You look at the goaltenders we’ve had: Tomas Vokoun, Chris Mason, we started with Mike Dunham, and then you move down and get to Pekka Rinne. They have the great makeup.”
You can listen to the audio clip of his answer here. Starting at the 0:40 mark, though, is where things take an interesting turn. Trotz starts to talk about how the team is built “from the back end”, pounding the table a couple of times in the process:
“We’ve built from the back end, sometimes you have to embrace that. We got a great goalie, maybe the best defenseman in the National Hockey League bar-none, we got another superstar who doesn’t get as much notice in Roman Josi on the back-end. That’s where we’re built and accept that.”
From there, he turns his focus to how the Los Angeles Kings have built a winning product, with their defensive-minded approach:
“One of the things, when L.A. accepted that, they said ‘you’re not going to score.’ Everybody is talking about L.A. being a top team, they just embraced the fact that, ‘Hey, you’re not going to score, we’re more of a defensive team, we don’t worry about scoring a lot of goals, we’re just worried about winning.'”
Trotz continued on, repeating his comment on “embracing” how the team was built and why he feels they’ve been successful:
“Sometimes you just have to embrace that. I think that’s why we’ve been successful, we just understand how we’re made. If we’re made that way and if it works for us, it works for us.”
Finally, Trotz maintained the position he’s kept since he took Nashville’s head coaching job back on August 6th, 1997.
“The Chicago Bears won on defense back in football, it’s the same thing. Defense wins hockey games”
This is the most intriguing press conference I’ve heard from Coach Trotz, mostly because I’ve never heard him so vehemently defend his coaching style and how the Predators on-ice product has been built.
Is it a telling sign of things to come here in the next handful of days? It’s quite possible. The writing definitely seems to be on the wall, Nashville is missing the playoffs for the second straight season and the Predators could do well with making some type of change.
Is Barry Trotz making a last-ditch effort, a possible “Hail Mary pass”, to save his job?