As the Washington Capitals embark on another NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs journey, I’d like to say thank you to General Manager George McPhee.
Irate after last year’s first round exit, I shared my views with this post, R.J Umberger for GM?, basically calling for McPhee’s job. It was not that I didn’t feel he had done a great job of gathering talent and building up the entire organization with youth and commitment. It was the missing vocal leadership of a proven veteran. That is the main piece I felt was missing, as a fan and outsider of what goes on within the walls of Kettler Capitals Iceplex. A little added grit would be nice too.
Some others thought the most desperate need centered around a shutdown defenseman and/or some defensive depth.
No matter what happens starting tonight at Verizon Center with the Capitals facing against the New York Rangers in the 1st round of the playoffs, McPhee has done his job, and then some, in setting up his team for a long run and potential championship.
Adding forwards Arnott, Marco Sturm and Matt Hendricks as well as trading for defensemen Scott Hannan and Dennis Wideman (even though he is going to miss at least the first series) since last year’s early exit provide toughness, experience and maybe even additional heart, all complimenting the talented pieces McPhee has put in place.
I’m very excited to see what will happen, but regardless of when this season ends, GMGM has set the Capitals players’ up to succeed.
And as for whether or not Arnott is exactly what I was hoping for, check out the attached screen grab of my Facebook comment from the trade deadline and compare it to Mike Wise’s recent Washington Post column Capitals find a leading man with Jason Arnott in the fold.
The call was answered.
What happens next?