Barry Trotz steps down as Capitals head coach

WASHINGTON — Barry Trotz has resigned as head coach of the Washington Capitals, the organization announced Monday.

“After careful consideration and consultation with my family, I am officially announcing my resignation as head coach of the Washington Capitals,” Trotz said in a statement.

Trotz, 55, went 205-89-34 in his four seasons in Washington, leading the Capitals to two Presidents’ Trophies and the first Stanley Cup title in the franchise’s 44-year history. He was also the first head coach of the Nashville Predators, leading the expansion franchise to seven playoff appearances in 15 seasons and notching 557 wins, 479 losses, 60 ties and 100 overtime losses.

Winning the Cup less than two weeks ago triggered a two-year extension for Trotz that would have given him a slight bump in salary to just over $2 million, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.

Trotz and the team could not come to terms on an annual salary that would have put him in line with other Cup-winning coaches. Toronto’s Mike Babcock makes the most at $6.25 million, Chicago’s Joel Quenneville is next at $6 million and Montreal’s Claude Julien brings in $5 million.

“He’s a good guy; he’s done a great job here,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said of Trotz at a press conference Monday evening. “He came in, changed the culture, won two Presidents’ Trophies, a Stanley Cup. I enjoy working with him. We’re still friends.”

“There’s not a negative thing I can say. It’s just, we didn’t get it done on the negotiations, both sides,” MacLellan added.

In a statement, the Capitals said: “We are obviously disappointed by Barry’s decision, but would like to thank Barry for all his efforts the past four years and for helping bring the Stanley Cup to Washington. Barry is a man of high character and integrity, and we are grateful for his leadership and for all that he has done for our franchise.”

MacLellan also said Monday that the team was looking at associate head coach Todd Reirden as a possible replacement for Trotz.

“We need to take a breather here, but I think Todd’s a good candidate for it,” MacLellan said. “We’re going to start with Todd here; we’ve been grooming him to be head coach, whether for us or for someone else. We’ll see how that talk goes with him and then we’ll make a decision based on that. If it goes well, we’ll pursue Todd, and if it doesn’t, we’ll open it up a little bit.”

“Sports is a business,” MacLellan added. “You want it to work out, you want it to be a game, you want it to be all fun, but 10 days after you win a Cup, you have to come here and do this — it’s not fun.”

In the rest of his statement, Trotz said:

“When I came to Washington four years ago, we had one goal in mind and that was to bring the Stanley Cup to the nation’s capital. We had an incredible run this season, culminating with our players and staff achieving our goal and sharing the excitement with our fans. I would like to thank [owner] Mr. [Ted] Leonsis, [President] Dick Patrick and [general manager] Brian MacLellan for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this great organization. I would also like to thank our players and staff who worked tirelessly every day to achieve our success.”

Only the New York Islanders have a current coaching vacancy, though given Trotz’s success in Nashville and Washington, other teams might consider making a move to hire him. Trotz has the fifth-most victories in NHL history and has guided a team to the playoffs in 11 of his 19 seasons.

WTOP’s Michelle Basch and Teta Alim, and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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