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Less than two weeks after Barry Trotz helped deliver the first Stanley Cup in Caps’ history, the veteran head coach has chosen to resign in a decision that stunned the hockey world Monday afternoon.
Under the terms of the four-year contract Trotz signed in 2014, winning the Cup at any point during the duration of the deal triggered a two-year extension. But with coaches’ contracts having exploded in value in recent years, Trotz’s representatives sought to negotiate a new extension for a bigger salary and a longer term.
The sides attempted to hammer out an agreement in recent days that would appease both the team and the coach but failed, leading to Trotz’s decision to step down.
Shortly after the team announced that Trotz would resign, the coach released the following statement via his agent, Gil Scott:
"After careful consideration and consultation with my family, I am officially announcing my resignation as Head Coach of the Washington Capitals. 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 Mr. Leonsis, Dick Patrick and 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.”
The Caps released a statement of their own, expressing disappointment in Trotz’s decision to walk away while also thanking him for his contributions.
“Barry Trotz informed the organization today of his decision to resign as head coach of the Washington Capitals,” the statement read. “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.”
Monday’s announcement was as much of a surprise as the Caps’ unexpected breakthrough in the playoffs, particularly given Trotz’s recent public comments. As recently as last week, in fact, he indicated that he was interested in staying.
The team’s plans to fill its suddenly vacant head coaching position were not immediately known, though its possible associate head coach Todd Reirden will receive serious consideration.
Trotz’s next move is also unclear. He’s technically under contract because of the two-year extension triggered earlier this month, but the Caps will grant permission to other teams to talk to him as though he’s a free agent.
GM Brian MacLellan will speak to reporters at 6 p.m. at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
MORE CAPITALS COVERAGE:
Former NBA player J.J. Hickson faces charges of armed robbery after breaking into a home near Atlanta, stealing $100,000 from the house, and physically assaulting a teenager who was inside, authorities said Monday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Hickson, who played 8 years in the NBA with four teams before his brief appearance in Washington, is currently being held in Coweta County Jail without bond.
He is currently affiliated with the Lebanese Basketball League but played 15 games with the Wizards during the 2015-16 season. Hickson averaged 4.6 ppg and scored a season-high 15 points against the Nets in the penultimate game of the regular season. He has not played professionally in the United States since. Hickson played just one season at North Carolina State before being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 19 pick of the 2008 NBA Draft.
Jimmy Yarbrough, the sheriff's spokesperson in Coweta, said that while at least two people were involved in the invasion, only Hickson is being held and charged.
According to authorities, Hickson entered through a side door, armed with a knife and his face and head covered. He was initially apprehended by another department and later transferred into the custody of Coweta County law enforcement.
At this time in the investigation, very little detail is publicly available.
The teenage victim, whose name remains private, received medical treatment for several broken bones and is fortunately in good condition.