Predators exercise options on coaching staff
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators' third straight exit in the first round of the playoffs hasn't shaken general manager David Poile's confidence in the only coach his franchise has known.
Poile picked up the option on Barry Trotz and his staff for next season Friday as a reward for the best regular season in franchise history. Poile hired Trotz when the general manager started building the expansion Predators in 1997.
"Teams and ownership change coaches, and managers, for that matter way, way too much, and really for not a lot of supporting reasons to do it. I chose Barry Trotz," Poile said. "He was a young coach who had never coached in the National Hockey League. Now he's second in seniority. "
Also retained were assistants Brent Peterson and Peter Horachek, goaltending coach Mitch Korn and video coach Robert Bouchard.
"I'm happy and proud we get to come back and hopefully take care of some unfinished business," said Trotz, who is 283-276-97 with the only NHL team he has ever coached. "We have to take the next step."
Trotz ranks 16th on the career list for the most games (656) coached with the same team. Buffalo's Lindy Ruff is the only active coach who has more games (738) with the same team.
The Predators had chosen not to pick up that option before the 2006-07 season, and Poile said last week the move was to let everyone focus on the season. The Predators responded with 110 points and finished third in the NHL with a record 51 victories.
Nashville is the only team to make the playoffs in each of the last three seasons with more regular-season points than the year before. The Predators went from 74 in 2002-03 to 91 in 2003-04 and 106 in 2005-06.
But Nashville finished with the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and lost to No. 5 seeded San Jose in the quarterfinals in five games for a second straight year.
"That's our hurdle. That's the last hurdle we have to get over, and we have to get over that together," Poile said. "He and I are on the same page. He's very bullish on his staff, and everybody clearly deserved to come back."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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