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Is it a sick coincidence that we are still in the NHL post-season and even though both of their season’s are over, on the same day the Washington Capitals lost and the Pittsburgh Penguins won?

Caps goalie coach Arturs Irbe, after two seasons, has decided to leave the organization. It was for personal and family reasons, was the explanation provided by a Capitals spokesperson.

Japer’s Rink broke the story and you can read more details here: Caps goalie coach Arturs Irbe won’t be back next season.

After hockey has been a defining part of his life for so long, is Irbe tired of the game and the commitment? Or could the personal reasons have to do with his take on where this team is going?

With free agency, the NHL Draft and potential trades set to happen across the hockey landscape, who knows what the Caps will do. I am extremely eager to see how general manager George McPhee will shape the 2011-2012 squad, but this move doesn’t sit well with me.

I’m all for fans in Verizon Center waving red flags, but I hate to see them pop up out of nowhere in the front office/coaching staff. Hopefully in the long run this isn’t a big deal, but unless more details surface I find it odd and unsettling.

To top off losing Irbe’s 568 games of regular season experience (and 51 playoff games), our friends in Pittsburgh are at it again.

The Penguins acquired forward Bill Guerin at the trade deadline of the 2008-2009 regular season, much to the chagrin of many Caps fans. There he helped eliminate Washington from the post-season on the way to hoisting his 2nd Stanley Cup.

Today, a team with an owner in Mario Lemieux, who every player in the NHL should look up to, respect and be eager to learn from continued to show respect to the idea an organization can’t have enough positive leadership, adding Guerin back in the fold as player development coach (Guerin embraces new role with Penguins).

Bill Guerin’s career numbers from hockeydb.com include 18 NHL seasons, 1,263 regular season games (103 more playoff games), and a pair of Stanley Cup championships. He also played in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Olympic Games for the United States. He has been around the block and has hardware to show for it.

I can’t say the position duties and requirements are 100% the same, but in comparison Steve Richmond is the Capitals director of player development.

He played with the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings, and Los Angeles Kings. According to hockeydb.com he played in a total of 133 NHL games, including no playoff appearances.

This is not to say that Richmond is not fantastic at his job and a very good person, I know very little about him. But the point I’d like to make is that championship organizations, and organizations that strive to become elite, find ways to bring in as much leadership and championship experience as they can when they recognize an available asset.

Here’s to the Washington Capitals learning from those around the sports landscape and taking another step towards a championship and elite level status in 2011-2012.

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