Trotz hopes Predators can go after some stars

Friday, April 25, 2008 at 1:03am

Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz has expectations that the team’s new ownership group headed by David Freeman will allow the team to once again pursue some high-powered talent to help win a Stanley Cup.

“We look at the types of players we are going to need, but also the types of players that we can afford,” Trotz said. “A lot of times we say we need this player, but a lot of times that player is a little bit out of sight in terms of the monetary value we can put out. A lot of times we have wanted to build championship teams but we weren’t able to do it because we were on a shoestring budget.

“Hopefully that will change with the new ownership renewed energy in Nashville. I think the city is really rattling. The corporate sponsorships will really help our hockey club.”

Trotz and Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff spoke on a conference call with NHL.com on Thursday. They were supposed to be talking about the Stanley Cup playoffs, but not surprisingly the interview turned to how both coaches have stayed with the same teams for so long.

Ruff is the tenure leader in the NHL, having completed his 11th season behind the bench for the Sabres. Trotz, who signed a two-year extension earlier this week, has coached the Predators for 10 seasons. Both spoke on a conference call Thursday afternoon.

“I think that Lindy is a lot like me in that we change it up every year,” said Trotz. “I don’t think either one of us has a big ego.

“I surround myself with really good people. I give a lot of responsibility to a lot of people in our organization and expect them to get it done. I think by doing that you can change it up. I can be front and center a lot, but I don’t need to be.”

Trotz credits strong relationships with his players as one of the major reasons they do not tune him or the other coaches out. Several players like center David Legwand and defensemen Dan Hamhuis, Shea Weber and Ryan Suter have grown up with the organization.

“The trust factor between our coaches and our players is very good,” said Trotz. “We know their families. We know how they will react. The players trust that we have their best interests in mind.

“I look at our culture in Nashville and it’s probably similar in Buffalo. We’ve built a culture in both places. I think there is a lot of pride.”

Along with that pride there are a lot of expectations, but the expectations are realistic. And just like the players and coaches must have a trust factor, the coaches also have to have a strong level of trust with both the owners and the general managers. Trotz and David Poile, President of Hockey Operations/General Manager, has been working with Trotz the past 10 years with the Predators. Their working relationship goes back even longer when they both worked for the Washington Capitals organization.

“I have a really good relationship with David Poile,” Trotz said. “He trusts that we still do a good job, and that’s why we’ve been around.

“I think that is the same situation as Lindy. They trust he’s a good coach. He’s got a good staff and they have built a good culture in Buffalo. I think that is what we have done in Nashville. We have done well with our hockey teams with what we have been given.”

WE ARE THE WORLD: Three Predators are planning to participate in World Championships in Canada May 2-18.

Hamhuis will play for Team Canada. Forward Martin Erat will play for the Czech Republic. Defenseman Ville Koistinen will play for Team Finland.

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By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It will be an interesting offseason. I still say we should have fired Trotz.

By: nashbeck on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I love Trotz. And I hope we sign some big offensive scorers, a big defensemen like Shea Weber, resign Dan Ellis, and then draft extremely well. I wish for all of that, but bottom line- I want to average 14K fans next year, make it to the playoffs, and win at least one series!!gdiafante--- Do the sellout crowds in playoff games count towards the average attendance?

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It counts towards the year totals, but not towards the revenue sharing requirement.The only thing is, scoring more goals will only mask the defensive laps, turnovers etc that has been a staple of a Trotz coached team.

By: Jimbobwe on 12/31/69 at 6:00

gdiafante - I'm giving Trotz one more year, no questions asked — I think he deserves that based on the rabbit he pulled out of the hat this season. A big part of this team's defensive lapses IMO were based on the relative inexperience of all our young defensemen like Hamhuis, Suter and Weber, all three of whom made great strides in my opinion. The guy I think I've lost patience with is Zidlicky. He's been around far long enough to be more responsible than he's shown. I wouldn't be surprised to see him and his inflated contract shipped elsewhere this summer. I agree that the Preds need to be more disciplined as a D-core, but as I look around the league I really don't see teams with as much youth on the blueline as we have (and besides Chicago, who does?) doing a whole lot better. I really think experience has a lot to do with it, and the Preds' big 3 young D-men should be ready to turn the corner next year. If they don't, and the Preds fizzle again, I don't think you'll have Barry Trotz to kick around anymore, anyway.