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Leonsis: Capitals weren’t ‘trending toward being able to compete for a Cup’

Apr 26, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

Ted Leonsis AP

The Washington Capitals have in recent years been a strong regular season team, but could never take that next step in the playoffs toward competing for the Stanley Cup.

In the 2013-14 season, they took a major step back, not even qualifying for the post-season and that meant the end to the Adam Oates two-year tenure as head coach, who was relieved of his duties. It was also announced that general manager George McPhee, who has been with Washington since 1997, would not have his contract renewed.

Yes, major house cleaning for the Capitals on Saturday. And now the search for a new general manager – and then a new head coach will begin.

But owner Ted Leonsis did not see his club progressing the way he would like, and changes were made.

“We were left (with) the overall impression that the team wasn’t trending toward being able to compete for a [Cup],” said Leonsis, as per Brian McNally of the Washington Times.

Oates, as a rookie head coach in the lockout-shortened 2013 season, saw the Capitals get off to a slow start at that time but then they roared back toward the end of the season to claim the Southeast Division, before getting eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs.

Oates released a brief statement on Saturday, saying he was “grateful” to be given the chance to coach the Capitals.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ted Leonsis, Dick Patrick, George McPhee, our coaching staff, the players and everyone involved with the Washington Capitals organization,” Oates said in a statement, which can be found on CSN Washington.

“It was a tremendous honor to coach the Capitals these past two seasons. It is a great franchise with a wonderful fan base that will always be close to my heart. I’m grateful for the opportunity they provided me and wish them nothing but the best in the future.”

  1. titansrbeast - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    Can anyone try out for the GM job? I always wanted to be one. I think they’ll pick me.

  2. ntvd7 - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Unless they send Ovechkin to Mark Messier leadership camp…

    Find a new captain, he’s not “the one”

    • stakex - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      You know, when Messier had crappy teams…. he didn’t win with them either. In fact, he was unable to lead a team to the playoffs in his last seven seasons. He only seemed like an amazing leader when he was surrounded by world class talent.

      The idea that a team captain can, through leadership, carry a team to victory is false. All the “good” captains you have in the NHL right now, all happen to be on the most talented teams…. and is not their leadership making those teams talented.

      • ntvd7 - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:49 PM

        So Mark Messier wasn’t a leader?

        Alrighty then….

      • titansrbeast - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:30 PM

        I think the point he’s making is championship teams don’t rely on the leadership of one guy. It’s the whole team as a unit, believing they can do it.

        But, I guess when you’re not smart enough to actually READ something….

      • joey4id - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        You can’t become a SC champion without leadership in the locker room, which starts with the captain. Ovi is not that leader needed. No big deal. The moment they accept that and rectify their mistake they will be a step closer to the SC.

      • stakex - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:57 PM

        Indeed titan, that was exactly my point.

        Of course Messier was a leader. He was a great leader. Its just that his career illustrates that the performance of a team is not based on the leadership ability of its captain, but rather the makeup of the team itself.

      • stakex - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        Its possible that’s true joey4id. I’ve never been in the Caps locker room, so I don’t know how good or bad of a leader Ovechkin is… and neither does anyone here.

        If Ovechkin ever has a Cup capable team to lead into the playoffs, and he hasn’t till this point, then we’ll find out how good of a leader he is. As it is though, the Caps teams of the last four years were not going to win the Cup if Messier himself was leading them in his prime.

      • jaguar0413 - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:39 PM

        Wow joey4id, it’s so easy for you to come on every single Caps post and talk crap about Ovechkin. Who do you think should be captain? Who else is going to lead the team? Who else is even capable of carrying the burden that Ovechkin deals with on a daily basis?

        No one else on the Caps stands up and answers the bell. He always does. He never backs away from questions and he answers honestly. What more do people want from him?

  3. flyersfan67 - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    Ovechkin is the biggest cancer for any team. He thinks everything should revolve around him, and until Leonis realizes it, and okeys an ovechkin trade, Washington is going nowhere.

  4. capsrockva - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    I don’t think that is the case. I think GMGM time was done when he traded Phillip for Martin. Bone headed trade. I think that started his downfall. As for Adam, I don’t think he should’ve been fired, and to flyersfan67 Ovi has a no trade clause in his contract. You need to look that up before you post. I knew that last year or the year before that. Please knock out the Rangers

  5. cliffatola - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    I am sorry but I read a different article this week that said Joel Ward changed the curve and length of his stick because Oates said he should. The results cannot be argued with Ward having a career year but those minute details are something an assistant coach should suggest, if Oates is focusing on these little things he isn’t looking at the big picture. GMGM has also handcuffed every coach he has hired mostly because he has not drafted evenly, some could say you take the best available player when it is your pick but he made some really bad ones with some of their first rounders and leaf the cupboard thread bare on the blueline. I say new coach and a new captain, remove all of the A’s and the C and announce they are up for grabs and that the most worthy candidates will receive them not just the highest paid. Oh and trade Mike Green, he has turned into a bum and it would certainly shake the locker room up a bit since he is the ring leader of the drunks on that team.

  6. watermelon1 - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    People talking about flipping letters on jerseys? Seriously?

    The caps are bad because they are bad. After Ovechkin, they are severely lacking in the talent department.

    No coach or captain is going to change that. They need talent. And since you don’t gain a ton of it with a draft… Quickest option is to trade your only real asset in Ovechkin. And you get young, talented players and picks. You clean house as far as your defense goes. And make the promise of a competing team in 3 years.

    • jaguar0413 - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:51 PM

      Why would any team ever consider trading a 5 time 50 goal scorer who just won his 4th Richard trophy? He’s a once in a generation goal scoring talent. You’re not going to replace that through some magical “trade.”

      What ends up happening if you do that is you get a couple of decent players and maybe a high draft pick and you watch him win the Stanley Cup with somebody else just like the Flyers did with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. You don’t end up improving at all.

  7. windsor9101 - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    Scott Stevens!

  8. pastabelly - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    The Capitals have been a bit of a mirage, having benefited from playing in the Southeast Division for years. Going into the Metro Division and having Detroit and Columbus join the East impacted fringe playoff teams like Washington and Ottawa to a significant extent. Toronto, another East disappointment has it’s own issues.

  9. icrew29 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    You can stop talking about trading OV, nobody wants his self-centered ass.

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