Sweeping changes could be in store for the Capitals after they ended their season without a playoff appearance for the first time since 2007.
Capitals general manager George McPhee met with owner Ted Leonsis and team president Dick Patrick on Monday morning and will do so again in the near future. Until that point, McPhee’s status is uncertain as Washington prepares for a long offseason.
McPhee has been the franchise’s chief architect since June 1997, making him the third-longest tenured general manager in the NHL.
During his 17 years as general manager, McPhee, who is believed to be on the final year of his contract, has overseen a complete rebuild which returned the Capitals to respectability. Yet Washington has little postseason success to show for it.
When approached at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Monday, McPhee declined to comment, saying that he will address the situation “in a couple days.”
As for coach Adam Oates, he said he has not received any indication on whether he will return for a third season, though his fate may be intertwined with McPhee’s. Oates has one year remaining on his contract.
“Of course I want to coach the guys,” Oates said Monday. “Whatever happens, whatever’s best for the organization is fine.”
The Capitals have had plenty of season-ending disappointment, but this year’s came early. Several players pointed out that they were missing the playoffs for the first time in their careers at any level.
The Capitals’ startling decline from Presidents’ Trophy recipient as the NHL’s best regular-season team in 2009-10 to postseason spectator this season has players desperately grasping for clarity.
“It wasn’t something I was expecting at all,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “I don’t think anyone in that [locker] room was expecting [it]. I didn’t feel we were trending in that direction. I felt it was the opposite. It’s tough to handle, and so you’re asking yourself a ton of questions why.”