General Manager Brian MacLellan arrived for his chat with reporters, his first public comments since mid-November, in a jovial mood, cracking jokes and one-liners while his Washington Capitals faced the All-Star break with 32 standings points in their past 21 games.
We’ll have plenty from MacLellan’s 18-minute conversation spaced out over the next several days, since the Capitals disperse following Tuesday’s home date with Edmonton and don’t reconvene until they fly to Columbus next Monday, but here are some quick-hitting quotes from his chat, a smorgasbord of random notes, if you will:
On the offseason signings of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik
“They’ve both been real good. I’m a big in-the-room guy. I think you need to have a good room. I think your room sets the context of what happens on the ice, and I think both those guys have added a lot in the room and on the ice. It’s helped our team.”
On reevaluating the trade of Filip Forsberg, who now leads all NHL rookies in points this season
“I think he’s played well. Obviously he’s one of the leading candidates for the Calder Trophy. If you’re asking, would I like to do a do-over? Yeah, sure.”
On Mike Green accepting a lesser role as the third-pairing defenseman
“I think he’s been good. I think he’s been really good. I think he’s had a good attitude. I think all our defensemen have had good attitudes. We have guys that are playing roughly 20 minutes a night, the five guys. Teams, some teams have guys playing 30 minutes a night, close to 30 minutes a night. I think it’s benefitted our group as a whole to distribute the ice time more evenly.
“It gives us an advantage. If we’re down a goal, Mike Green’s playing a little bit more. If we’re up a goal, he’s not playing as much. I think if you look at it as a group, it’s been a good experience for everybody. We don’t have anybody complaining about ice time. And we’ve been healthy. The more minutes you play, the more tired you get, the more chance of injury. I think our guys, it’s been distributed and we’ve stayed healthy mostly the whole year.”
On whether injuries to Dmitry Orlov (wrist) and Nate Schmidt (shoulder blade) affect his willingness to explore offers for Green
“I don’t think it affects Mike Green at all. It affects our overall depth. I expect to have Schmidt back. At the beginning of the year, we would’ve had Orlov and Green slotted for the third pair, we would’ve had [Jack] Hillen as a second and we would’ve had Schmidt as a call-up. I think everyone took advantage of situations. Schmidt had a good camp and he moved up and Orlov’s hurt. I think it all works its way through. It’s the benefit of having good depth at defense, that we can survive that kind of stuff.”
On the play of Alex Ovechkin
“I think he’s been great. I think his work ethic’s been great. I think he’s been open to whatever’s been asked of him. Obviously he’s playing a better two-way game and he’s still scoring goals. I think he’s been good on the power play. I think the coach has had a big influence and also Alex has been open to what’s been asked of him, the way to play.”