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Mike Harrington: Reflections on Barry Trotz's stunning resignation

Big news today out of the nation's capital that doesn't include any revelry: Coach Barry Trotz has resigned from his post with the Washington Capitals less than two weeks after directing the team to its first Stanley Cup in his 43-year history.

While it was believed Trotz was working on an expiring contract, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet said he learned today that Trotz actually had a clause that gave him a two-year extension and a $300,000 raise if he won a Cup. The problem? That would have only taken his salary to about $1.8 million, far below what top coaches are making these days. Mike Babcock, for instance, makes north of $6 million a year in Toronto, a contract that has lifted the bar dramatically for coaching salaries in the league.

Said the Capitals in a statement: "Barry Trotz informed the organization today of his decision to resign as head coach of the Washington Capitals. 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."

Said Trotz in his own statement: “After careful consideration and consultation with my family, I am officially announcing my resignation. 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.”

Trotz was noticeably at ease during the Stanley Cup final. And not just because he had reached the pinnacle of his profession for the first time in his 20 seasons.

Stanley Cup notebook: Trotz 'having a blast' as Cup run nears climax

He knew he was going to get a big new deal for the Capitals or be a prized free agent. And, as it turns out, he won a Cup to boot. While it's probably a shock to Capitals fans that the coach is suddenly out, the organization clearly low-balled him once negotiations commenced to move past that $1.8 million figure.

So what now for Trotz? The only open spot is in Brooklyn, where Lou Lamoriello just took over as GM of the New York Islanders. You would think hiring the Cup-winning coach might be another way to convince John Tavares to decline free agency and stay long term.

Trotz could also wait to see what teams, if any, decide to turf their coach to go for him as their bench boss. It would be interesting to see if Minnesota would be a candidate there with new GM Paul Fenton just coming from Nashville, where he spent many years working with Trotz. The relationship between the two of them, however, is reportedly not be as cozy as you might think.

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