Private exit interviews contributed to Capitals’ cleaning house

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For obvious reasons, if a player is going to speak about his head coach or general manager to the media, it is usually in a show of support. What do you suppose the Capitals players were saying about former coach Adam Oates and GM George McPhee off the record?

For the first time since he bought the Washington Capitals, Ted Leonsis, joined by Capitals president Dick Patrick, conducted private exit interviews, according to CSN Washington.

“When we spoke to all of the individuals, we said, ‘We know this is uncomfortable and you should be able to tell us whatever you want or tell us nothing, but whatever you tell us is just going to be between me and Dick because we’re seeking out information,’” Leonsis said.

Leonsis and Patrick considered the results of those conversations and then asked themselves if they thought the current leadership group was capable of competing for the Stanley Cup in 2014-15.

“Our answer was obviously no,” Leonsis said.

Oates had some critical things to say about several players in recent weeks. He accused Alex Ovechkin of quitting on a Dallas Stars goal. He claimed Jaroslav Halak didn’t want to play against his former squad, St. Louis, in a key game, which left Halak’s agent bewildered that “a coach would break that trust” by sharing the contents of a private conversation, especially “when those comments the coach publicly attributed to Jaro are not accurate.”

The former bench boss also labeled defenseman Mike Green as an enigma.

Meanwhile, a report suggested that McPhee had an “adversarial relationship with player agents.”

Related:

Leonsis: Capitals weren’t ‘trending toward being able to compete for a Cup’

Backstrom: ‘We’re the ones that should be ashamed’