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May 31, 2018

Barry Trotz

Washington, D.C.: Practice Day

DAVID KEON: We have with us Capitals head coach Barry Trotz. We'll get right to it.

Q. Hi, Barry, do you have an update on Evgeny Kuznetsov's status?
COACH TROTZ: No, day to day. We're just on a plane. I don't have any update for you. Maybe tomorrow.

Q. You expect him to be on the ice tomorrow?
COACH TROTZ: I don't know. Can't answer that.

Q. Barry, one more annoying injury question for you. Is Brooks Orpik okay after taking a slash late in the game last night?
COACH TROTZ: No, he's fine.

Q. We talked about the production of Lars Eller and Nick Backstrom. What have they showed you in these playoffs, Lars specifically when Nick was out, and Nick and Lars after Evgeny went out, and what they can do when playing big minutes?
COACH TROTZ: I think what you find is the depth at center ice. You know, Nick has gone out or Kuzy has been out, Lars has elevated his game and comes up in a more prominent role, if you will.

I think he embraces the challenge. He takes the moments very seriously that he has to step up and try to find a way to produce, and he has. He's a veteran player who has good hockey sense, and he's strong on the puck, and I think his game translates well in the playoffs.

Q. Barry, to say that your team has better results on the road than at home would be an understatement. Did you guys do something different at home, or is there something that you like to see your team do better to take advantage of the home ice that you just got by winning last night?
COACH TROTZ: No. I think that early in the playoffs -- you know, in the playoffs, home-ice advantage for most teams is not that big of a deal, and it hasn't been that big of a deal for us.

I think we got off to a little bit of a tough start just in our overall game, and I thought we fell down -- you know, the first two games, we didn't have any success.

No, we feel very comfortable at home. I think our game will translate at home. I think our fans will give us a really good boost. I know early in the playoffs we always feel a little pressure in the first round, I think probably all four years. Everybody does, I think. It's a first step up from a regular season to the playoff intensity. So I think that's the home-ice advantage goes away for a lot of teams.

For us, we're fine. I think it's actually going to be a real good advantage for us. We can get some matchups that we actually prefer, and we should be fine. We're very comfortable with our record over the last four years at home, was one of the best in the National Hockey League. I think we'll get right back to where we want it to be.

Q. If I could follow with another one, please. Do you find that your team has a tough time to deal with time zone difference. I know that you've been in Nashville for a long period of time, but going from far west to the east or on the other side, when you came in, do you do something different to deal with that, or the two days between games are enough for you to get advantage of that?
COACH TROTZ: I think the two days in between. Obviously, being in the west for a long time, I think what you try to do is keep your -- as soon as you can, get onto your normal time zone. Obviously, when you go out west, you want to stay up as long as you can so that you go to bed at your regular time so that you don't wake up at 4:00 in the morning. You wake up at a normal 6:30, 7:00 in the morning.

When you go the other way, I think you try to go to bed at the normal time and get up at the normal time so you get right back on a schedule. For every hour that you change time zone, it probably takes you a day to get totally back on, but these guys are used to it. They're young guys. They understand sleep habits.

Q. Barry, you talked about the depth you have at center. Last night you were able to move Chandler Stephenson to center to kind of fill no for a while. We talked about this before, but you basically used him before. What can you talk about his value because of his versatility in situations like this.
COACH TROTZ: Well, yeah. Chandler's obviously through the playoffs -- he plays every position pretty well, except defensive goal for us. He's played right wing, left wing. He's played center ice. He's moved up to the first line. He's been on the second, third, and fourth line.

He's just -- I use the term he's a Swiss Army knife for our team. He's able to, if he's in more of a grinding line, he'll play that grinding style. If he's with the skill people, he'll play that skill game. If he's playing the wing with someone who gets the puck to space, he's going to use his speed.

He's very adaptable in this game. He's sort of that guy that can swing all over the place for us. Very, very valuable for us.

Q. Question. On home ice, we know how fast the Knights are. They're a very, very fast team. They like to get into a track meet, where you guys are better slowing the game down and responding with counterattacks. How are you at home, with the emotion of playing on home ice, how do you stress to the team to slow it down and not get caught up in all that emotion?
COACH TROTZ: I think you try to bring some of the things that you do on the road. Obviously, Vegas feeds off their crowd. They have a very good home record, and understandably why. That arena, their crowds generate a lot of energy. They're a quick start team.

I don't think we change at home. I think we have to understand just managing the puck a little bit because their emotions will be ramped up a little bit. We'll get some energy off our crowd, and hopefully you want to get the other team on their heels when they're at home a little bit just as you do on the road. So I just think managing the puck is a key for us at home. When we do that, we do it well. We're pretty effective.

Q. Hi, Coach. So far the two teams in this series have really been known for their speed and their skill, but the first two games of this final have been very physical. There's been a lot of hitting both ways. What kind of role do you expect that to play as the series moves on in Games 3, 4, maybe 6 or 7?
COACH TROTZ: I don't think -- I think last night was the truer indication of how the series is probably going to be, more so than maybe Game 1. I think both teams have a physical element, both teams have a skill element, both teams have a speed element. So I think it's going to be very similar. It might even intensify as we go on.

We're used to that. We've had a number of series that got ramped up as the series has gone on. We've had to go through a lot of adversity at times. And as you go through a team, you start to get a little more hatred for each other because you're battling for the same space, the same prize at the end.

From that standpoint, I think you're going to see both teams be extremely hard on the puck, extremely diligent in terms of their systematic play, and extremely diligent in terms of their work ethic and their detail.

Q. Does that -- is that something that can take a psychological edge as that series gets longer, or when you're in the fourth round of the playoffs, does it really not matter anymore?
COACH TROTZ: I don't know. It depends on how mentally tough you are. I think, if you've had a lot of adversity, you're ready for it. If you haven't, you're probably not. It adds strain to it, but if you're ready for it, you know it's coming, and if you've dealt with it before, you're better prepared for it. If it's something you actually expect and embrace as you go on.

The series, as it goes deeper and deeper, there's less and less time for success or failure. When there's pressure, you have to be on all the time.

Q. Hey, Barry, how's it going? I was wondering what you thought of your team's performance. Third period defensively, you guys actually outshot them at even-strength. So what did you guys do so well, especially in the neutral zone?
COACH TROTZ: I don't know if we did anything particularly well in the neutral zone. I just thought we were checking with our feet. We had numbers, we had good sticks. We were hard on the puck. I thought our changes with our chip length was really good. We kept pushing it north, if you will, making good decisions with the puck. I don't think we changed a whole lot. We were very, very diligent in all areas of our game.

Q. And the ice conditions were a big topic after Game 1. Did you feel that in Game 2 the ice conditions improved or were about the same?
COACH TROTZ: No, they were much better. As I said, Game 1, the new logos and the fresh ice, because of everything that goes in with the finals, the ice broke down real quickly. But Dan Craig and his staff -- as I said, they're the best in the world. They worked all night overtime to make sure the ice is very good. You think about a full rink, 100 degrees outside, and a situation where it's in a warm environment, which is not always the best for ice. I thought the ice was outstanding last night compared to Game 1.

Q. Barry, are you guys trapped on your plane right now because of the weather?
COACH TROTZ: Yes. Yes, we are. It's lightning and pouring, and the grounds crew cannot take us off the plane because, obviously, we're not going through a terminal.

Q. Thank you for doing this, then.
COACH TROTZ: So we're grounded in D.C. But our guys are fine. It's another layer of adversity that we have to go through all the time. We always chuckle about it.

Q. Hi, Barry. As good as the PK was at times last night, were you concerned, or are you concerned at all about the number of minors? Five of them were obstruction penalties? Is there anything you guys can do to be more cautious, I guess, against a team with so much speed?
COACH TROTZ: I think the penalties are going to even out a little bit. I thought the -- there was a couple missed on their side. I think they'll leave them out. I'm not that concerned. As the referees go on in the series, they'll see some of the things, the trends on both teams. So I think it will even out.

DAVID KEON: Thanks for joining us and have a great day.

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