A push from a coach and a son got former King Justin Williams to Capitals
You’ve got to have help around you while making a crucial career decision.
So who got Justin Williams, who won the Stanley Cup twice with the Kings, to the finish line — to the Washington Capitals?
In no particular order:
1. Barry Trotz. Trotz happens to be the well-respected coach of the Capitals. Williams was exploring unrestricted free agency for the first time, doing his due diligence and talking with Trotz before agreeing to a two-year deal worth $6.5 million with the Capitals on Wednesday night.
“I felt like I’d be an important piece of that and Barry just kind of took me over the edge,” Williams said. “And made me feel as if I would be. I had a great conversation with him.”
2. Jaxon Williams. The 7-year-old son of Williams.
“He woke up this morning and said, ‘Daddy, where are we playing?’ I told him Washington. He was all smiles. That passed the test,” Williams said.
“He even said a month ago, ‘Daddy, if we don’t go back to L.A., I think you should go play with [Alex] Ovechkin because he’s the best.’”
Williams was talking on a conference call with reporters Thursday morning and was his usual entertaining self, candid and funny.
He revealed that there were conversations Wednesday with the Kings. Los Angeles was where he cemented his “Mr. Game 7" status as a clutch player, hoisting the Cup twice and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP in 2014.
“Now it was just time for me to move on,” he said. “Obviously I spoke to L.A. a little bit yesterday. But they’ve got this thing called the ‘salary cap’ that comes into play, especially with a lot of teams spending to the cap. I’m going to move on, but I’m always going to have fond memories.”
The Kings have been in disarray since the end of the regular season, dealing with off-ice matters involving Jarret Stoll and Mike Richards. They’ve been under a cloud since October because of charges filed against defenseman Slava Voynov, who pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of corporal injury to a spouse Thursday.
“We made the playoffs, except the first year when I came; we made the playoffs every time except last year. Enjoyed a pretty good stretch there with two championships and the conference final,” Williams said.
“Obviously things got derailed this year with a lot of occurrences and things beyond individual control. But, hey, that’s part of a team. No team stays together the whole time if you don’t win.”
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