Apparently, Barry Trotz has done more than make the Nashville Predators a competitive National Hockey League team. He also has helped a couple others win the Stanley Cup, including the Chicago Blackhawks whose run to the 2010 championship began with a first-round victory over Nashville.
“I’ve run into several of Chicago’s players, (coach) Joel Quenneville and a lot of their fans, and they all said our series with them was the toughest,” Trotz said Wednesday following the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas. “It’s nice to hear from someone like Pavel Datsyul that when Detroit won the Cup (in 2008), we were the ones who sort of pushed them over the hump.
“So we’re doing a good job. Now we have to get better.”
Trotz, the only coach in franchise history, attended the event because he was one of three finalists for the Jack Adams Trophy, which goes to the league’s Coach of the Year. That award went to Phoenix coach Dave Tippett.
It was the second time since the end of the season a member of the Predators’ lost an award to someone from the Coyotes. David Poile was a finalist for the league’s first-ever General Manager of the Year. That one went to Phoenix’s Don Maloney when it was awarded during the Stanley Cup finals.
“(Tippett) would be my vote,” Trotz said. “I thought Phoenix turned it right around and had a terrific year. I thought we did very well too, but it’s great that the Coyotes had the year they did and that they’ll be staying in Phoenix.
“… I’ve known him for a long time, and I was kidding him that I thought it was nice he invited me to his party.”
It was the second year in a row the Predators were represented at the NHL Awards show. Forward Steve Sullivan came back from the 2009 event with the Masterton Trophy.
For Trotz, though, it was his first trip ever to Las Vegas.
“It was quite good,” he said. “There’s a lot of neat things going on, and Vegas is just a great place for this event. I don’t think you could do it as well if it was in Toronto or Montreal or someplace like that.
“… I’ve never been here before, and I don’t think one time is going to do it.”
Presumably, he’ll have more opportunities as a Jack Adams finalist.
He became the sixth coach in league history to coach at least 900 games with one team and joined a group that included the award’s namesake. He guided the Predators to a 14-6-1 record following the Olympic break, which was fourth-best in the league during that time, and into the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.
The Predators have had a winning record in each of their last six seasons and have won at least 40 games each of the five seasons since the league lost the 2003-04 campaign to a lockout. Only four other franchises also have accomplished the latter
“I always look at it as an organizational thing, I never think of it from an individual standpoint,” Trotz said. “We’ve been able to accomplish some things that a lot of other organizations have not.
“… We’ve done a good job developing players, we have a good, solid GM and a lot of good players. Now it’s time for us to make that next step.”