Fresh off getting lauded by the national hockey press for his series of free-agent machinations, Caps GM George McPhee flew to Calgary on Tuesday. To have lunch with Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green. In the airport. And then he left.
“Because me and Nick were here, George flew in and met with us,” Green told Calgary’s Fan 960 during his charity golf tournament on Wednesday. “We actually talked about everything that we need to do next season, and I respected that. But he definitely made some great moves in the last couple weeks, and it definitely made our team a lot better, which is exciting for us players.”
The radio hosts widely stepped in here, to ask whether McPhee really flew from D.C. to Alberta just for an airport lunch.
“Just to meet us at the Kelsey’s at the airport in departures,” Green confirmed. “And we had lunch, and he was back off. It’s a long trip for him, but I think the conversation was very productive....
“And I know how busy he is, I’m sure everybody does, and for him to fly out and meet with me and Nick because it was convenient that we were both together, it says enough about him. He’s just that kind of guy. That just goes to show that the organization, we want to win this. And times have been tough here over the last couple years with playoffs, but we’re all pulling in the right direction, and as soon as we get all on the same page and committed, we’re gonna win this thing.”
Backstrom — who flew in from Sweden to support Green’s event — was also on 960 Wednesday, and while he didn’t discuss the Kelsey’s lunch, he did praise McPhee’s moves.
“I think that’s a sign, we really want to win something,” Backstrom said. “I mean, I really have to give credit to George. He’s trying to make changes, and I think he’s doing a good job and hopefully everybody else that play there for a couple years can step up this year and make sure we’re the leaders out there. I think that’s the most important for us right now....
“I mean, we’ve been winning the Eastern Conference two years in a row now. It’s a total different thing, the playoffs, and that’s what we have to learn, I guess. And I’m very excited for this season too, I think everybody is. We want our revenge, and to show the experts that they’re wrong.”
Oh, and to do it for D.C.
“It’s like any sport, you put a good team on the ice and people will show up and respect that,” Green said. “But I feel that it’s time for us to not only win ourselves but win the fans a Cup. That city deserves that. ”
(Audio clips via Japers Rink.)