If Poile could choose, Trotz would coach Canada’s Olympic hockey team

Monday, April 27, 2009 at 1:27am

David Poile does not have a say in who will comprise the coaching staff for Canada’s hockey team at the 2010 Olympics. Even so, the Nashville Predators’ general manager is not afraid to speak his mind on the subject.

“I think Barry (Trotz) should be a candidate,” he said. “…I think he’s one of the names on a short list to be one of Canada’s coaches. That’s based on the job he’s done, the recognition and respect he’s earned in the NHL and the fact that he’s been added to the staff for the World Championships again this year.

“Whether he gets a chance to be a head coach or an assistant for the Olympics, I think he deserves to be considered.”

Trotz is an assistant coach for Team Canada at the 2009 World Championships, which began Friday in Switzerland. Buffalo’s Lindy Ruff is the head coach and Dallas’ Dave Tippett is another assistant.

Trotz was announced as a member of the staff on April 12, two days after the Predators were eliminated from playoff contention.

It is the third time the only head coach in franchise history has worked with the national team at that particular event. He also was behind the bench as an assistant with the 2002 and 2003 teams, the second of which won the gold medal.

“One thing that you find when you go over to the international scene … with the coaches is that you really work as a group of three,” Trotz before he left for Switzerland. “Egos are aside. You go over there to win a tournament and to represent Canada with integrity and all of that. Egos are not at all there. You go over there to work as a staff and as a team.”

His continued commitment to the national program and his longevity in the NHL are similar to Canada’s most recent Olympic coaches.

Pat Quinn had the job at the last two Olympics. In addition to an extensive coaching history in the NHL, he also served Team Canada in several management roles from 1996-98.

Marc Crawford was head coach in 1998, two years after he was an assistant for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey and a Stanley Cup-winning coach with Colorado. The 1994 coach, Tom Renney, was two years away from his first job as an NHL head coach when he directed the Canadians to a silver medal.

Trotz never has won an NHL playoff series as a head coach, but he does rank among the top 10 all-time in games coached and won with a single franchise.

“For me, to be coaching or to be considered for anything like (the Olympics), it’s an honor,” he said. “I’ve always been a big believer in Hockey Canada. There [are] so many good candidates. It would be an honor if you even got considered.”

The 2010 Olympic Hockey tournament and the build up to it will be widely scrutinized throughout Canada given the sport’s popularity there and the fact that the Olympics will take place in Vancouver.

The man who will make the final decision on all coaches and players, executive director Steve Yzerman, knows Trotz well.

Yzerman concluded a 22-year playing career — all with the Detroit Red Wings — in 2006. Over his final seven seasons, therefore, he routinely played against the Predators.

The U.S. already has named Ron Wilson its head coach for 2010, but Canada has yet to make a selection.

“That’s something that will come down the road,” Trotz said. “There’s so many good candidates, and Steve Yzerman and his staff will make a very good decision … and it would be an honor to be a part of that in any way, shape or form.”