Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Breaking Down George McPhee's Comments From Day 1 At The Caps Development Camp

Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee talked with the media yesterday between afternoon Development Camp practice sessions. He made some comments that didn’t go over well with Caps fans. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. Ok, I thought so.

 Here’s what he said and here are my thoughts and my breakdowns of what he said:

 The biggest issue and a question the (what seems like) entire Capitals fan base wanted answered was the Caps second line center issue and why they didn’t sign a big name to a big contract to fulfill that need. McPhee confidently said that he didn’t like where the contracts were going during #FreeAgentFrenzy. Not the cost, but the terms. He clearly implied he wasn’t willing to sign an aging big name player to a long term contract. So that spelt goodbye Mike Ribiero. He said he believes 50 percent of the July 1st signings end up in compliance buyouts. He also stated that if your team goes into Free Agency and needs a total revamped roster, something is wrong with your team.

 McPhee answered the second line center question by saying, “the second line center position is a league wide cliché”. He then said he believes in full confidence that Brooks Laich can fill that role.

 Is Laich a star studded name? Absolutely not. Caps fans need to understand that Laich is a born leader. I’m one of the crazy fans and analysts that believe Brooks Laich should be the captain of the Washington Capitals. WHAT? Take the C away from Ovechkin and give it to Laich? THAT’S CRAZY! Honestly, Ovechkin isn’t the leader of the Caps. He never will be. He is the offensive leader and as he goes, the Caps go. That doesn’t mean he should be captain. Call me crazy but he’s the captain of the Washington Capitals because Sidney Crosby is the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins (you can rant about that in the comments below). Ovechkin became captain soon after Crosby was named captain.

 Back to Brooksy. Laich wants to win and if it weren’t for the shortcomings of some of his teammates, he would be a winner. Brooks Laich as a second line center works barring injuries. He’s tough, he’s a leader, he has great scoring ability and he can do the dirty work. However, I’m concerned about how his groin holds up.

 The Capitals and George McPhee are banking on Evgeni Kuznetsov coming over from Russia after the Olympics and making an immediate difference. It’s a move that will pay off if he does.

 McPhee also told the media yesterday that he knew before the trade deadline that Hendricks was not going to be resigned. He was asking for too much and he said that head coach Adam Oates liked Aaron Volpatti and that he was Oates’ type of player. Volpatti was therefore quickly resigned on a deal not costing the Caps much. It’s sad to see Hendricks go. It’s hard not to love the guy but if he doesn’t fit into a new coaches system, and he’s asking for a big pay day, there is no reason to keep him. Congratulations to Nashville who got a gem of a guy and a solid player, however, Nashville did give us a reasonable replacement in Michael Latta who, himself said he wants to fill the void left by Hendricks’ departure.

 Until next time,

 Follow me on twitter at @whirsch_wvunews for more Caps updates, thoughts and hockey talk.


  1. I thought I was the only Caps fan in the UK!

    I'm with you on Laich - I definitely think he should have been given the captaincy. Although I don't think he should be right now, simply because to do so you'd have to strip it from Ovechkin, and practically that could just cause too many problems - not to mention a media frenzy when guys just want to get on with their jobs and a ridiculously high set of standards for Laich. As it is the Caps have Laich as a de facto Captain, and that's good enough I think - Ovechkin can lead offensively on the ice, but we know it'll be Laich leading vocally in the locker room, not a bad combination.

  2. Thanks for the comment Aaron! I agree with what you have said about stripping Ovi of the C and the media frenzy. Wouldn't be good attention for sure