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Caps’ ex-director of hockey ops blasts ‘shocking’ GM hire

May 26, 2014, 7:16 PM EDT

There were some eyebrows raised on Monday when Washington announced the man in charge of replacing outgoing GM George McPhee would be McPhee’s longtime assistant, Brian MacLellan.

Even more eyebrows were raised when ex-Caps draftee Shawn Simpson (pictured), who spent seven years as both a scout and director of hockey ops in Washington, took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the hire:

(Chris Patrick is a pro scout in Washington and the son of president and COO Dick Patrick.)

Simpson’s time in Washington’s front office overlapped with MacLellan’s tenure (Japers’ Rink, one of the best Caps site on the web, found this pic,) so one would assume the blast on Twitter was somehow related to a working experience, though you know what they say about assumptions.

The Capitals dismissed Simpson as director of hockey ops in 2004 and replaced him with — guess who? — MacLellan.

From there, Simpson proceeded to take a job with the Leafs and is now currently a radio analyst on TSN 1200 in Ottawa.

  1. canucks30 - May 26, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    Boom goes the dynamite

  2. canucks30 - May 26, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    “We need a fresh set of eyes and new voice”

    -Capitals owner Ted Leonsis in April 2014

    Apparently, that means promoting George McPhee’s former teammate from 1978-1982 and his protege from 2000-2014.

    For all intents and purposes, George McPhee is still the GM of the Washington Capitals.

    • lowenni - May 26, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      These two GM’s are different people. MacLellan has already shown some savvy with his Halak trade and signing prospect Christian Djoos as he served in the interim GM role. Just because they worked together doesn’t mean they share the exactly same mind–McPhee was successful in building a strong core in Washington and is one of the best drafters in the league, and while he’s to blame for the decline of the franchise, he’s not given enough credit for building the high-flying Caps teams of a few years ago from scratch. There are things MacLellan can learn from him, and according to Ted Leonsis, he and Trotz share a similar vision:

      “One key component for Dick and me was to ensure Brian and Barry share similar philosophies regarding team structure, style of play and the changes we need to make as an organization. Some of those changes will be evident, others won’t be as obvious and a few will be confidential. While they both have their own opinions and strong viewpoints – and are unencumbered in sharing them – there is an alignment in their thinking. There is a belief in a common system that will allow individual talents – offensive, defensive and goaltending – to flourish while committing to a style of play that will be the most beneficial to our team.”

      If this team gets a top-6 forward, resigns Grabo, gets one veteran leader, and brings in a top-4 defenseman (or Orlov/Schmidt establishes themselves as one), then this is a top-10 team in the league again.

      • pr0jecktpat - May 27, 2014 at 1:29 AM

        The hiring isn’t as splashy as Trotz, but I can understand some of the backlash. I think it is ignorant though to believe just because the guy worked under GMGM he has the exact same viewpoints as GMGM. Has no one complaining about this hiring ever worked under someone who you think is making all the wrong decisions, but couldn’t actually speak up because you didn’t want to lose your job?

        I get the feeling from the interviews on Monumental Sports with both Trotz and Mac show that they want to instill some discipline on this team. Lets at least give the guy a chance before we completely bash him in to the ground.

        To me it seems like sour grapes from Shawn Simpson over not being the guy still in Washington with a chance to become GM.

      • phillyphanatic77 - May 27, 2014 at 1:49 AM

        While it was the right moves in signing Djoos and dealing Halak, neither decision was an overwhelming show of hockey savvy. It was pretty evident to everyone that Halak was nothing more than a rental and it’s probably a safe bet that GMGM would’ve done the same thing with him. Djoos is a decent prospect but needs a ton of work on his defensive game. He’s far from helping the Caps improve. It’s not entirely outlandish that McPhee would’ve done the same exact things.

        As for your final point at the bottom… that’s a TON of necessary things that pretty much the entire NHL is looking for. That means Washington is probably far from being a top-10 team. MacLellan may be different than GMGM but he also learned pretty much all he knows about the front office business from him. And that’s not what Caps fans want. We’ll see how it works out but I think most in the business see this as a missed opportunity to change the franchise for the better.

  3. ludacrish05 - May 26, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    Whatever, Ted will raise his ticket prices again too

  4. flyerspsu - May 26, 2014 at 7:58 PM


  5. bmoreredfury311 - May 26, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    Time will tru

    • bmoreredfury311 - May 26, 2014 at 8:23 PM

      *time will tell. Happy about Trotz.

  6. ovechcant - May 26, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    The caps, much like the redskins, are impeded by their ownership.

    • capsnbohs23 - May 26, 2014 at 8:33 PM

      thank god im a ravens fan, i dont know how the redskins fans handle it

      • esracerx46 - May 26, 2014 at 8:45 PM

        Got bigger balls than I do admitting that after that Ray Rice press conference. What we’re they thinking.

      • wethog66 - May 26, 2014 at 9:03 PM

        Its tough for us Skins fans, but the alternative (being a fan of a team named after a poem that was written by a drunk who married his 14 year old cousin) is worse.

      • capsnbohs23 - May 26, 2014 at 9:21 PM

        The Ray Rice thing is embarrassing but before that you never heard of any ravens players getting in trouble off the field. minus the whole ray lewis thing. And i believe there is more to the rice incident than the public knows about

      • jaguar0413 - May 27, 2014 at 2:00 AM

        Yeah c’mon man. Jamal Lewis only got caught with a little bit of cocaine and did four months in the slammer. Cory Fuller ran a totally lame gambling ring. Ray Lewis at least got away with murder. He’s the real hero. #HTTR

      • desertfan - May 27, 2014 at 4:55 AM

        Why wouldn’t the Washington brass grab the opportunity and rename the team the “SKINS” which is really what they are mostly called anyway???

      • capsnbohs23 - May 27, 2014 at 8:18 AM

        O well, the 2 super bowls are nice

  7. esracerx46 - May 26, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    Wonder what would have happened if Patrick’s kid was hired. Perhaps they should change their name like everyone in Washington has been clamoring form the Redskins to do. Maybe then they’d quit acting like the politicians in Washington and actually “change”.

  8. roblo76 - May 26, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    Sounds like this Shawn character got passed over. u mad bro?

  9. govtminion - May 26, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    I’m not a fan of the hire- to me, if you wanted to fire McPhee, don’t hire the guy who has been his direct underling for several years in his place- otherwise, why bother firing McPhee in the first place?

    That said, this sounds like some serious sour grapes from Simpson. Kind of sleazy, really, for him to mouth off like this. :/

  10. hosewater2 - May 26, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    Someone’s trying to get followers

  11. babykaby - May 27, 2014 at 5:40 AM

    OMG! The people on here making comments about the newly selected GM being like George McPhee are killing me. Obviously, you must have never held a job. It is pretty rare to find people who always agree with their boss. Most of us in the work world may voice our opinions (if we are even allowed), but we will usually do what the boss decides. If you don’t follow the direction given by your boss you will eventually find yourself without the job. Maybe this is what happened to Mr. Simpson. Just because Mr. Maclellan took his direction from George McPhee does not mean he actually fully agreed with Mr McPhee’s decisions. Now he is the GM he will be the one making the decisions, give the guy a chance before you start finding fault. As far as this Simpson guy goes, his total lack of character is probably one of the reasons he was let go by both the Caps and Leafs. He needs to get over it, grow up and stop hating o the guy who took his job. I’m embarrassed for him.

  12. mjw9326mjw9326 - May 27, 2014 at 7:16 AM

    Hey Caps fans. Look on the bright side. At least they had the sense not to hire Darcy Regier.

  13. robwhite2003 - May 27, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Who the hell is Shawn Simpson?

  14. sisquoc - May 27, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    “talked is way in” makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Try “talked his way in.” Simpson credibility fail.

  15. tdl23ca - May 27, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    I’m sure MacClellan won’t be a clone of GMGM, but you would think that with the level of “success” that has been achieved over the last few years that they could have at least moved outside of the Leonsis comfort zone and don’t something more bold.

    This send a message to the existing players and any UFA’s that the CAPS are more concerned with comfort than with bringing a cup to DC.

    But the CAPS players, coaches, and executives should look on the bright side, they will be able to sit at home at watch the playoffs for years to come. They also get 2 months more free time off to play golf than the teams that win the Cup! See. It’s not all bad.

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