As per usual, CBC’s Elliotte Friedman gave us plenty to think about in his weekly “30 thoughts” column.
One thought that stuck out for me was this one:
Apparently, no GM is burning up the phone lines more than George McPhee. The Capitals face Canadian-franchise-level pressure to succeed.
After last night’s home loss to San Jose, Washington sits one point back of Toronto for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth is peeved at coach Dale Hunter (and presumably vice versa) and veteran forward Mike Knuble is fuming in the press box as a healthy scratch.
“If you had told me on opening night that we’d be sitting here right now outside a playoff spot, I’d have been very surprised,” McPhee told The Washington Post’s John Feinstein yesterday. “I liked the team we had put together this summer.”
McPhee added: “I still think if we get our guys [Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green] back and if we can add something here in the next couple of weeks we’re good enough to win the Stanley Cup.”
But if Washington doesn’t make the playoffs, McPhee’s job could be no more. In fact, he probably needs to do better than just make the playoffs. So what could the GM do prior to the Feb. 27 trade deadline?
Writes Feinstein (after suggesting Knuble could be dealt):
McPhee has other chips he can play. If he believes Green is going to be healthy he has two young defensemen, John Carlson and Dimitry Orlov, who many teams would covet. He also has Dennis Wideman, an all-star defenseman who is a free agent this summer. What’s more, he has two first round draft picks in a draft reportedly chock full of talented defensemen.
He could also shop Alex Semin, whose expiring contract could be absorbed by a handful of teams, assuming one would take a chance on the inconsistent Russian. Then again, with no Backstrom, who’s out indefinitely with concussion symptoms, the Caps might not want to lose Semin’s offense. Underperforming or not, he’s still the team’s fourth-leading scorer.
What do you think? Can McPhee save the season with a deadline more? Any ideas? Maybe he’s a PHT reader and gets most of his ideas from the comments sections of blogs.