VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Barry Trotz has coached 12 seasons in Nashville, 984 games in all. He has led his team to the playoffs six times, and now has the Predators in the second round for the first time.
Prior to Game 1 against the Canucks on Thursday, Trotz took time to chat with NHL.com and NHL Network about his season with the Predators, who finished fifth in the Western Conference with 99 points.
Q: What does it mean to you to be a finalist for this award two years in a row?
Trotz: Well, it's a great feeling, but I always look at this award as really an organizational award. I represent the Nashville Predators and my coaching staff. They put in a tremendous amount of work and the players get it done night in and night out. I'm very honored to represent the Predators with this award.
Q: When you came up in coaching and got into the NHL, was winning this award something you ever strived for or focused on?
Trotz: Not in a million years. When I started coaching a very good friend now was actually my coach, Wayne Fleming. He got me into coaching and then I started meeting the Dave Kings and Clare Drakes. Those are the guys that really got me inspired to get into coaching. My wife, she told me, "That's your passion, why don't you go for it?" We've been together for almost 30 years. Without their support I probably wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today. I have to thank them.
Q: You just had another very good regular season and then you won a round in the playoffs. What do you do to get the best out of this group?
Trotz: Well, I just try to be myself. When I first started coaching I wanted to control every aspect. I couldn't laugh at myself, I was probably very confrontational. I just think coaching has changed for me. It's about managing people. The X's and O's, there are some guys maybe better than others in that part of the game, but if you manage people the correct way the group will drive itself and will have pride in what they do. It's no different than in the business world, just getting people to have a lot of pride in what they do as a profession. Our players have a lot of pride in doing what they do.
Q: You've got Pekka Rinne nominated for the Vezina. You've got Shea Weber nominated for the Norris. And you're obviously the coach of this group. What does it say about the job you've done to help them get to that point?
Trotz: It's them. It's not necessarily me. We try to give them a road to go down and give them some advice, but it's really their day in and day out diligence and the inner drive that they have. As I say sometimes, you just have to direct people if they're driven. Those two guys are fantastic. They make you look like a great coach. But it starts with David Poile, who was also nominated as one of the top three general managers. He's a great person, a great hockey guy that you can bounce some ideas off and he comes in with some ideas that are very useful to me. Having those players, it makes you look like you're a real smart coach sometimes.
Trotz: Absolutely. I think Danny is one of those great young coaches in the League. You think about what he's had to do in a short period of time. He came in and they ended up winning a Stanley Cup. He was maybe a little breath of fresh air because he's got a lot of energy and you can see it in his hockey team. It was really a 360-type of team that he had to develop. If you watch good young coaches, they adapt. That's one thing that I admired watching a guy like Scotty Bowman. He adapted to the game, and Danny did the same. To me, Danny did a phenomenal job, the same as Alain did.
Q: Let's talk about Alain. He showed a lot of guts in Game 6 against Chicago in going with Cory Schneider and then his team really came to play that night and in Game 7 after a couple of poor games. They had a great regular season, too. What impresses you about Alain behind the bench?
Trotz: You sort of said it right there, he can make those tough decisions. Obviously the pressures in Vancouver are probably a lot different than they are in Nashville and even Pittsburgh. In a lot of ways it is a crazy hockey market, a wonderful hockey market with a lot of pressure and they had an outstanding season. Sometimes keeping that together with a very talented team is as hard as it is if you don't have as much talent. I thought he did a real solid job. He's one of those coaches that can make those real tough decisions, especially when you get a lot of second guessing within the market place.
Q: Now about this series: On Feb. 17 after a game against Vancouver you said it would be great to see that Ryan Kesler and Mike Fisher matchup in a seven-game series. You said it would be great to see two Vezina guys like Rinne and Roberto Luongo in a seven-game series and Weber and Ryan Suter play against the Sedin twins. Now that it's here, what do you think?
Trotz: It's going to be great, exactly what I said then. That's the game within the game that I think really in this series will tell the story. You're going to have some other new stories. There are going to be some new heroes. There are going to be some guys who take some blame. But all that said, I think it's going to be a really wonderful series. We contrast in styles in the way we play, but we still have the same DNA. Both teams go after it hard and you've got some players that are cut from the same cloth. I think it's going to be a fantastic series."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl