Islanders embarrass Washington Capitals into firing Todd Reirden

Barry Trotz, head coach of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Barry Trotz, head coach of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

After the New York Islanders beat the Washington Capitals in five games, the Caps fired the coach they hired to replace Barry Trotz.

Coaches who win Stanley Cups aren’t typically allowed to leave that season. Winning a Stanley Cup in the NHL is usually the biggest guarantee of job security. But after the Washington Capitals won the 2018 Stanley Cup they allowed Barry Trotz to leave, much to the benefit of the New York Islanders.

After winning the cup, Trotz wanted a big raise on his $1.5 million salary. The Caps didn’t want to give him more than a $300,000 raise though. Ultimately, the Caps wanted to give the coaching reigns to associate coach Todd Reirden for the 2018-19 season onwards.

So Barry and his 328-205-89 regular-season record and 36-27 playoff record (and 2018 Stanley Cup) was allowed to leave in favor of Reirden.


Reirden was a fine coach. Two years with the Caps yielded an 89-46-16 regular-season record. But a 5-10 playoff record. That last bit proved to be Reirden’s downfall.

It took the New York Islander (the sixth seed in the East) five games to eliminate the Capitals (the third seed in the East). And it wasn’t even close.

The Capitals played two strong periods in the entire series. The second and third periods of Game 4, a game they won 3-2. The rest of the series was all Islanders.

Through five games against Trotz’s former team, the Isles held a 78.57 GF%, a 57.44 xGF%, and a 66.67HDCF%. All stats at 5on5 and taken from NaturalStatTrick. Rough.

NHLNetwork’s Mike Kelly had perhaps the best take on the series.

The Capitals wanted to win the series against the Islanders, they just couldn’t. The Caps were so completely outcoached and out-executed that it looked as though the 2018 Stanley Cup champs weren’t even trying out there.

That’s embarrassing.

And that’s why the Capitals fired the coach they groomed for years to replace Trotz. Meanwhile, not only has Trotz eliminated the Caps in the 2020 playoffs but he’s advanced to the second round twice in two years (with an arguably less talented team) and won a second Jack Adams trophy.

Embarrassing decision making by the Caps.