Kissing the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas with Barry Trotz and bringing it to Baltimore

June 10, 2018 | Nestor Aparicio

the playoffs in 1986. I was there for the Pat LaFontaine loss in 1987. I was inside the Capital Centre for every “whoot” of Larry Murphy and “Hex-tall – Ass-hole” chant. Mike Ridley was my favorite player.

The Skipjacks beat was one I took very, very seriously and needed to in order to walk among these young men who were my age and playing the game to the get the National Hockey League, where several would have a chance to one day be a part of kissing the Stanley Cup. I covered more than a handful of guys like Murphy, Scott Stevens, Bob Errey, Phil Bourque, Troy Loney and Tim Taylor who all later had their names inscribed upon Lord Stanley’s chalice.

Terry Murray would challenge me to know more and understand the game. He always called me his “favorite writer.” It was an inside joke because I was often the ONLY writer at his office door after a Skipjacks game.

Doug MacLean was stern but always deeply educational in how he taught me the game. He warmed up to me once he figured out I wanted to learn. Robbie Laird was an extremely difficult personality and that, too, taught me about the toughness of the game.

I made my mistakes along the way. If anyone has a contact on former right wing and (later) head coach Rob Murray, tell him that I owe him a major apology. I wanna deliver it personally if I can ever find him through my hockey trail.

The Baltimore Skipjacks head coaching job was not an easy sell. The franchise had gone through four head coaches in four years and even though the team didn’t stink and the players weren’t so troubled, it was a situation general manager David Poile didn’t like because of the easy transition from Baltimore to Washington wasn’t really a “punishment” for players who were likely scratches in the NHL.

But it was a real bush league life. Long bus rides to Utica and Rochester and parts of Eastern Canada. Doug MacLean has opined recently on Canadian TV that he roomed with the bus drivers. And Trotz and Kenny Albert have both opined on my show about their roommate situation during the 1991-92 Skipjacks seasons.

 

At this point in his life, Trotz was just figuring out how to be a coach and was just such a normal, sensible guy and knew that I wanted to get the story right. Very simply, we bonded. And if you ask anyone around him, they’d tell you that they bonded with him, too. He’s a very easy person to like.

He was a little older than me but knew that I had been around the team for almost a decade through all of the transitions