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New Capitals Coach Todd Reirden will dial up intensity as Stanley Cup defense begins

New Capitals Coach Todd Reirden will dial up intensity as Stanley Cup defense begins
Published On: Thu, Sep 13
Oct 17, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan speaks to his team during the game against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. The Oilers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The office reserved for the Washington Capitalsa€™ head coach was getting a fresh coat of paint when Todd Reirden emerged from it on the last day of August. The practice facility had gotten a few new touches over the summer, too: Stanley Cup champions logos engraved on the glass front-entrance doors.

Reirden spent a lot of time in and around that office as an assistant the past four years, but this season will mark his first sitting behind the desk after being promoted to the head post in July in the wake of Barry Trotza€™s sudden resignation. Fridaya€™s start of training camp marks the true beginning of his tenure, and the expectation is daunting for a rookie head coach: win the Stanley Cup again.

a€œIta€™s an opportunity that I wouldna€™t trade places with anybody on,a€ Reirden said.

Reirden will have the benefit of a roster with minimal turnover from last season, but he also has the challenge of guiding the Capitals through a potential championship hangover to start. Coaching changes are typically reserved for teams that seek a different direction, but Reirden is entering a unique situation a€” this is just the fifth time the defending Cup-winner hasna€™t returned its coach. Not much will be different with the system, but that doesna€™t mean Reirden hasna€™t considered how to put his own stamp on things.

Hea€™s consulted members of more than one NHL team coming off a Stanley Cup run, and he has firsthand experience from when he was on the Pittsburgh Penguinsa€™ staff the season after their 2009 title. Hea€™s also researched teams coming off championships outside the sport. The motivation to slog through the start of a long regular season can be minimal, and players also have had a truncated summer of recovery and training.

a€œThe certain way wea€™re going to go through the first portion of training camp, the intensity of it, that will be at a high level immediately,a€ Reirden said. a€œA lot of people in the past may have eased into training camps, and that has not, in my research that Ia€™ve found, worked out well. Ita€™s important for me to set the tone for how wea€™re going to work and how wea€™re going to do things.

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