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What does ‘good defense’ mean to Barry Trotz?

May 29, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

Washington Capitals Introduce General Manager Brian MacLellan And Coach Barry Trotz Getty Images

Good read here, by NBC Washington’s Adam Vingan, on what playing well defensively means to new Capitals coach Barry Trotz. Because it’s not just about blocking shots and making sure everyone’s in the right positions when the other team has the puck. The main goal of playing good defense is to get the puck back, and to do it as quickly as possible.

“I’m going to tell the players, when you have the puck, I want you to make good decisions and I want you to score some goals and I want you to be hard on people and the puck,” Trotz said. “And if you don’t have it, I want to get it back again so we can re-attack.

“That’s good defense. Defense is about getting the puck quickly so you can do something offensively.”

Got it? Good. Now here’s what Jonathan Toews said after he helped Canada win gold at the Olympics: “As soon as we didn’t have possession, we were working so hard to get it back. We had some skilled, skilled forwards and d-men, but everyone was committed to playing a defensive game, and we created offense off it.”

So, basically the same thing Trotz said.

New Caps general manager Brian MacLellan added this: “It’s not going to be one individual working hard and the others watching. It’s going to be five guys working in sync together hard.”

Which, of course, brings us to Alex Ovechkin. Not because he’s the only Capital who needs to play better defensively — far from it — but he does play big minutes, and he is the captain. He’ll need to be on board with what Trotz is selling.

Oh, and just because Ovechkin is a winger, that doesn’t mean he can’t play his part in getting pucks back. Just look at what Marian Hossa does for Chicago, if you want to see what a winger can do defensively.

“Scoring goals is fun, but I think it’s just as fun to steal the puck,” said Hossa.

Now all Trotz has to do is convince the Capitals.

Related: ‘I don’t want to take anything away from the Capitals offensively,’ says Trotz

  1. joey4id - May 29, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    “Not because he’s the only Capital who needs to play better defensively” He’s the only Capital who needs to make an attempt at playing defensively. The rest of the Caps need to play better. Now that would,constitute a major achievement.

    • bmoreredfury311 - May 29, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      Troll… Oh and you missed a space between the coma and constitute.

      • jpelle82 - May 29, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        dont correct him if you cant spell “comma”

      • joey4id - May 29, 2014 at 1:20 PM

        Actually leaving the “coma” in as an oversight. :-)

      • bmoreredfury311 - May 29, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        Lol I know. Every time I try to correct you I mess up on something. That will teach not to comment using my “smart phone”. It doesn’t make the user smart.

  2. titansbro - May 29, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    I’d trade Ovi if I was the GM. You could get a haul for him & he simply isn’t a winner. He’s uber-talented but he just doesn’t have that “thing” like a Toews or Bergeron or Datsyuk.

    • joey4id - May 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      Would you trade your top player for him? Better yet, what would you be willing to accept in return of Ovi?

    • capsnbohs23 - May 29, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      not many players have that “thing”, it doesnt mean you just get rid of him for not having a “thing”, you build around him so he doesnt have to score all the goals.

    • Eutaw's Finest - May 29, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      Look at his playoff numbers then tell me he’s not a winner.

      Team sport buddy. He does his part (although he can absolutely do more) but in team sports no single player carries an entire team.

    • franky619 - May 29, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      You must mean team, he just doesn’t have that team like Toews ,Bergeron and Datsyuk. Actually he has that THING more than anybody else since he entered the league which allowed him to win more individual awards than anybody else including Sid and Malkin Combine. What he needs is a TEAM to win the team award he’s missing,
      the Stanley Cup.

  3. flyboystransport - May 29, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Won’t work with the players there. It’ll take at least 3 years to put the roster in place that would work. Trotz was the coach from the start in Nashville so his system was law. The caps have wasted 3 coaches trying to fix this……

  4. comeonnowguys - May 29, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    If Trotz’ definition of “good defense” isn’t “skating off behind the play to avoid a minus”–and it certainly isn’t–there’s some work to be done.

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