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May 14, 2018

Barry Trotz

Washington, D.C.: Practice Day

Q. How hard is it to win?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: Well, I think it's hard to win, especially this time of year, it's very hard to win. You've got the best four teams in the National Hockey League going at it, so you take every shift and every moment seriously, and you have to have focus on it. Because, as you've seen in this series and other series, it can change in a moment.

So you've just got to stay focused, stay in the moment and grind through it.

Q. Do you believe the playoff resumes, career resumes are dictated on what you do in the playoffs?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: Say that again?

Q. Do you believe the overall resume of somebody's career is dictated by what happens in the playoffs?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: Well, I think a lot of people define careers that way. I've said earlier that the way I look at it is the way you live your life, the way you do things, how you've done them, that should define you, and not trophies or anything like that. Those are things that, to me, they're nice, but they're -- in the bigger scheme, it's about the person and about their families and friends and teammates think of each other. That's what really defines a career for me.

Q. What have you seen out of Ovechkin in this series?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: He's obviously, he's having fun. He's producing. He's all in. We asked our group to, if you're going to have success, you have to have all-in contribution, and he has. I think he's enjoying the run, the playoffs maybe for the first time in a long time.

He's the face of the franchise, and as I said, as the face of the franchise you get a lot of the credit and you also get a lot of the blame. Because of that I think at times it's taken some of the joy out of it too.

Q. What's a guy like Brooks Orpik do for you as a coach, having him in the locker room and on the bench?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: He's an extension of the coaching staff. He's an extension of player who does everything right professionally. He's a player that has experience and has been in these situations before. His wisdom resonates in the room. I think he's one of the most respected guys that we have. There are few guys that earn more respect than Brooks Orpik in our locker room, I can tell you that.

Q. What does perspective do for you? You were always in the same position. You lost two at home, had to go on the road. How does that perspective help your team in understanding the situation?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: Well, I think not everything comes as you want it sometimes. Sometimes it comes in different forms. No matter what you do in life, whatever path you're taking and whatever your goal is, sometimes it doesn't come cleanly. Everybody would like to win four in a row and move on, and that doesn't happen in life. Things get in the way. Sometimes those obstacles look pretty daunting, but they're actually building blocks for your character, for how you're doing things, how you're going to get them done. It makes you look at things a little differently. Because of that, I think you're able to grow as a person, as a player, as a team.

Q. You have a number of younger players on the team that have all played together on a Hershey team that went on a long run. How beneficial is that as far as their ability to contribute?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: I think if you can win at any level, it helps, I would say, the comfort level. And some of these young guys, I think it was Oshie was saying some of these young guys think this is how it's every year. That's what you want to get to as an organization, but the reality is that probably doesn't happen. This league is way too strong. There's too much parity. So when you get that opportunity, you want to make the most of it.

Q. You guys have scored first in 12 out of 14. You've had the lead in 13 and 14 games. It seems like you're playing from in front a lot. How much do you feel that has helped or do you feel that has helped you guys dictate the tone and pace of games?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: Well, I think when you're chasing a game, it can get you out of being patient and making the right decisions sometimes because you're trying to force things. I would probably say it's helped. But I think for the most part the first periods and second periods where we haven't changed a whole lot in terms of the way we've approached each period. We've been down in a couple of the second periods. Yesterday was a good example. We didn't change our game. We just stuck with it, and lo and behold we got tied up.

We've been very, I think, very good or fortunate, whichever way you want to look at it, of having those windows open or windows of opportunity where you can turn a chance, a good example was the second goal. We gave up one of the few odd-man rushes. We broke it up, transitioned and came down and scored. All of a sudden it was 2-2, and we felt some momentum in there. There are windows of opportunities where it opens up for you, and we've been able to jump through that window a few times and give ourselves some momentum.

In playoff hockey you have to create your own momentum sometimes, and sometimes creating your own momentum is just being patient, staying with the plan. If you stay with the plan long enough, usually if it's the right plan, you're going to have success.

Q. You're up 2-0. What is the message going home with the series lead to your team?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: Let's get the next game. That's the message. One of the things we've been able to do is focus on the next game. We don't want to change a whole lot. Obviously, we're going home. I think from our standpoint is we've got an opportunity to, you know, really put Tampa with their backs against the wall, we have that opportunity. We don't want it to slip away and allow them to get back in.

So we'll be focused. They will. You're going to see their absolute best effort tomorrow night, so we've got to come with our best effort.

Q. To the point against Columbus and the experience you took from there, is it healthy to recognize how vulnerable a playoff series can be and how quickly things can turn?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: Yeah, absolutely. We won Game 3 in overtime in Columbus. We lose that game, we're down 3. It can change in a heartbeat. We've seen it ourselves and we've lived it. To me, that was the point where once we won that game, our game really settled down and we've been good ever since.

Q. Brett Connolly, has he done things differently for you that has given you more confidence on what he can do and how you might employ him? What is his evolution?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: Yeah, I think last year was a growing experience for him as well. I think one of the things that happens with a guy like Brett, when you change organizations you don't feel like you have a real big piece of the pie, if you will. So sometimes you're a little bit in the background. You're a contributing player, but you don't own it as much when you're in those -- I think he was on a one-year deal, trying to earn another deal. So he was just trying to play, play well, and earn an opportunity to get another deal, and he did. I think now that he's second or third year, you feel like you've got some ownership in the group. I think that helps confidence-wise. It helps in a lot of different areas.

But he's a player that's been around a while, and everybody thinks that he's a really old player, but he's not. He's a younger player, in his mid-20s, and he's hitting his prime right now.

Q. Is there any -- does the status of the series have any impact on when you would bring Backstrom back?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: Not really. As I said, it's really up to Backy, but it does give us some time if he needs. So we'll see where that is. We haven't really talked about it. I went to bed, did some work, and I just had breakfast and I'm talking to you. So I haven't seen him yet.

Q. You must have went to sleep?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: I got all of four and a half hours. It was great.

Q. If he does come back, are you thinking of putting him on a different line, considering Eller has been at that spot?
A. We have a plan that hasn't changed with Nicky for where he would go in. So when he's in, he'll be with -- you'll see who he's going to be with.

Q. He's obviously waited a while for this opportunity to get to this point, rather. How have you seen him maybe behind the scenes be a cheerleader for these guys and supporter?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: I mean, you see him talking to the young guys, just being -- he has a quiet confidence. He has a really good perspective on the game and all those things. So he's been a little bit of a father figure to some of the younger guys. He does it very quietly.

Q. One of the things you were touching on before, the idea of getting opportunities however you get them and turning them into good chances and goals. One side could look at it and say we're not handling the puck well. The other side could say we're doing a good job to force turnovers. What are you doing well?
COACH BARRY TROTZ: I think in this game we're playing the full 200 feet. We're recognizing the situations. We recognize, obviously, they discovered us, we discovered them. We recognize there are certain things they do that we might be able to take advantage of and I think we have.

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