Feb 27, 2012, 8:40 PM EST
Despite an undoubtedly large group of disenfranchised fans and heavy helpings of disappointment, Washington Capitals GM George McPhee decided to sit out the league’s annual round of trade deadline chicken.
McPhee explained that he didn’t want to “chase a bad deal.”
“The theme of this year’s deadline was everybody wanted to add and there was no one selling,” McPhee said. “There were probably three or four sellers and a couple of them are in our division, so it wasn’t like we were going to able to do much with them. Everyone seemed to want our players, but they wanted to give us futures and prospects and I wasn’t interested in doing that.”
The sexier comment came when McPhee proclaimed that this Capitals team “can beat anyone in [the Eastern] conference” with a healthy Nicklas Backstrom.
To some, that comment seems preposterous considering how uneven Washington has been – with or without the talented Swede in its lineup. Then again, this is still a talented team on paper and if you’ve followed playoff hockey for even a few years, you know that a hot squad can ride a wave of momentum to shocking heights.
McPhee’s overall logic is actually quite sound for two less-contentious reasons, though:
Parity is a great thing, but it tends to breed impatience. Capitals fans wanted change NOW, but to paraphrase a hokey saying about Texas weather, if you don’t like Washington now … wait until the off-season.
McPhee could clean out much of the supposed “cancers” or underachievers/malcontents/whatever once the season’s over. Take a look at this list of the team’s most noteworthy upcoming free agents (sorry, Jeff Halpern):
Naturally, many want Alex Ovechkin to be fair game, but that list contains a ton of scapegoats who could be jettisoned for a new frame of mind and a ton of cap space.* So, yes, McPhee could have closed his eyes and thrown up a Hail Mary, but Capitals fans only need to sit through hockey’s answer to a two minute drill before victory or serious change comes.
* It would be about $17 million or so, if everyone in that group walked (not counting Hunter’s salary, of course).
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 13
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 76
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 4
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 14
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 88
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 83
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 68
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 47
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 78
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty 172
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (172)
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ (89)
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand (88)
- Bruins’ Kelly out with broken ankle after Dupuis slash (86)
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) (83)