The Capitals & George McPhee’s 3 Week Timeline To A Possible Stanley Cup Title

Steve O Speak

By Guest Blogger Alan Zlot:

Washington Capital fans have officially begun to pace the floor in anticipation of the 2011-12 season. With the recent signing of veteran goalie Thomas Vokun, the mantra in D.C is, let us just get to April.

Owner Ted Leonsis promised there would be changes following another sorry playoff exit by his team and GM George McPhee has meticulously and wisely gone about producing them. This has been by far the best off-season for McPhee since he joined the Capitals in 1997. There have been some stellar signings and draft picks over the years but since draft night, 17 days ago, McPhee has done his level best to fill every need the Washington Capitals faced coming into this off -season.

Back in February before the trade deadline approached, many analysts and experts said, while the Caps could win a Stanley Cup as they were built, it would prove to be difficult because of the few things they were missing. The few things Washington lacked, turned out to be glaring needs once the Tampa Bay Lightning were finished with them.

Washington needed a solid veteran defenseman and a veteran goalie headed into this past post season. They could have used a good two-way forward who was not afraid to play garbage hockey in front of opposing goalies. The Caps were missing depth on their third and fourth lines. Looking back, Washington needed a lot and even if they had acquired all of this at the deadline, there is no guarantee any of it would have meshed come playoff time.

What McPhee has done in just 17 days is completely overhaul the Caps roster without sending a negative message or shaking up the team’s core of youthful and talented players. The eye test says that along with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Capitals have to be the favorites to win the Stanley Cup next season.

McPhee added the type of players that traditionally beat the Capitals come playoff time. He has added players that will allow Alex Ovechkin to get back to what he does best, put the puck in the net.

So how did George McPhee make the Capitals heavy Stanley Cup contenders in less than three weeks? Let’s take a look.

May 4 & 5: Something Good Can Always Come of Something Bad

Just when Caps fans did not think their team could find new ways to lose in the playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning came along and made the Capitals the first No.1 seed in NHL playoff history to be swept in the second round of the playoffs. The loss to Tampa marked the second straight year the Capitals finished as a No.1 seed in the east only to lose painfully in the post season. Last year, the Montreal Canadiens became the first No.8 seed in NHL history to overcome a 3-1 playoff series deficit and defeat a No.1 seed.

Following the sweeping loss, Washington fans wanted swift changes while calling for head coach Bruce Boudreau’s job. Everyone except for Alex Ovechkin was to be traded. Some fans said that it may not be a bad idea to shop the Great 8 as well. Obviously and understandably, Caps fans were more than angry. They were hurt and fed up with excuses and post-season collapses. The following day, Caps owner Ted Leonsis posted on his blog “Ted’s Take”, exactly how the Capitals would handle their off season following the hard series loss. The post, titled Congratulations Tampa Bay, did not hold anything back.

Leonsis said their role players outplayed our role players. The former AOL senior executive was not bashful in admitting that Tampa’s highest-paid players outplayed the Caps’ highest-paid players. In fact, Leonsis said, “their role players outplayed our highest-paid players.” He continued by noting, “their goaltending and special teams were better.”

He simply said that, “The best course of action for us though is to let a few days pass; be very analytic about what needs to be improved; articulate that plan; and then execute upon it.”

A few days later, Leonsis stated that McPhee would be the sole decision maker on Bruce Boudreau and his job security. McPhee stated that Boudreau would return to coach the Capitals. Leonsis, McPhee, or the Capitals would not be heard from again until draft night, 50 days later.

June 24: Draft Night in Minnesota:

Troy Brouwer

General Manager George McPhee was not in love with the talent in this year’s NHL draft. With all of the talent McPhee deemed worthy of wearing a Washington Capitals uniform already selected, McPhee traded the Caps first round pick (No.26) to the Chicago Blackhawks for the rights to versatile forward Troy Brouwer. Brouwer, 25, finished the year with 17 goals and 35 points in Chicago. The Caps seemed to be looking to fill holes immediately with Brouwer’s acquisition.

What McPhee made clear with the trade, even if he didn’t say it, was that the Caps were looking to get tougher and more physical. The fact that Brouwer finished sixth in the league last year with 262 hits was a clear but positive message to his team. Headed into the 2011 NHL draft the Caps had six potential unrestricted free agents on the roster. The list included Brooks Laich, Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon, and three players that were acquired last year during the season, Jason Arnott, Scott Hannan and Marco Sturm.

Many fans felt, as NHL and Versus network analysts, Pierre McGuire voiced, that McPhee pulled the trigger for Brouwer as a preemptive strike in anticipation of losing center Brooks Laich when free agency began on July 1. Caps fans seemed to be OK with the trade. The talent seemed to be of equal footing and the Caps acquired a physical player that was two-years younger than Laich. Although Brouwer did not put up the points that Laich did last season (16-32-48), he was apart of a Stanley Cup winning team, and just the mere mention of Stanley Cup in D.C made fans O.K with this unofficial trade-off.

Little did anyone know at the time, Brouwer was not taking the place of Laich on the roster. In fact he is probably going to end up as his line mate this up-coming season.

June 28: Caps Resign Fan Favorite Brooks Laich:

With free agency just 72 hours away, the Washington Capitals announce that they have resigned the second best center that was going to be available when the 2011 free agency period began. The Caps inked one of those potential unrestricted free agents from their own roster in veteran center, Brooks Laich. Laich signed a six year extension worth $27 million dollars, or $4.5 million per season. The deal came together a few days prior to the NHL draft and was done in principle prior to the Capitals trading their first round pick for Troy Brouwer, which many thought was done to fill Laich’s roster spot.

Laich said to Mike Vogel on the Capitals web site,, “At the end of the day, you sit back and you look at yourself and your situation in Washington. I have everything I’ve always dreamed of and worked for in playing hockey. I have a team that has a chance to win a Stanley Cup every single year, with young players and a core group of players that are going to be competitive for a long time. I’ve got an organization that likes me; I play 20 minutes a night, power play, penalty kill, five-on-five. I’m a guy that’s relied upon.”

What more could you possibly want? I think I am in a situation I’ve worked for my whole life. Ultimately, I was 100 percent happy in Washington. That’s why I wanted to return and that’s why I had no desire to leave.”

Not only did McPhee acquire Brouwer but he also retained Laich, which many thought was not possible. Little did anyone know at the time that McPhee was about to embark on a lot of deals that seemed impossible to Caps fans. What made this seem unlikely was the Capitals had almost $51 million committed to the 2011-12 roster.

Washington had also just extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Karl Alzner, Troy Brouwer, and Semyon Varlamov. This left Washington with just $6.5 million under the new announced cap of $64.3 million for this upcoming season. However, as free agency began this past Friday the Caps would relieve themselves of one of those unrestricted free agent offers.

Hindsight is always 20/20 but if you read Ted’s Take last week, then you knew the Caps were going to be players on Friday. Leonsis said, “We want to keep some players. We want to sign some players.” He then added that fans should “not be surprised if you see some trades.”

The Caps would celebrate T.G.I.F.A (Thank God it’s free agency) by signing a former player and trading a current one.

July 1: Free Agency Begins (1:20 P.M), Welcome Home Jeff Halpern:

Jeff Halpern wearing the “C” in D.C back in 06

Having been born and raised in the Maryland/D.C area myself, I can assure you that not many kids grow up and get a chance to play for their hometown hockey team, which for most kids is the Washington Capitals.

The Baltimore/Washington area is not exactly the hotbed of hockey like the province of Quebec. However this did not stop Potomac Maryland native Jeff Halpern, who grew up a Capitals fan and realized his dream when Washington signed him as a free agent in March of 1999.

TSN’s Gord Miller. the. the 5’11”, 198-pound center, who is now 35, signed a one-year contract worth $825,000 to return home and play in D.C next season.

Halpern played for the Capitals for six seasons before signing with the Dallas Stars in July of 2006. Dallas traded him to Tampa Bay with Jussi Jokinen, Mike Smith, and Dallas’ fourth round choice in 2009 Entry Draft for Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist.

In March of 2010, Halpern was then traded to Los Angeles by Tampa Bay and prior to the start of the 2010 season, signed with the Montreal Canadiens. He now enters his 12th season in his second stint with the Caps.

During his first stint in D.C. Halpern played in 438 games for the Capitals and captained the team during the 2005-06 season. He recorded 214 points (87 goals, 127 assists) in his career with Washington, including a career-high 46 points (19 goals, 27 assists) during the 2003-04 season.

Halpern plays tough down low and loves the corners. He is not afraid to put his small frame in front of a shot and he is not afraid to throw a hit.

Halpern is the physical gritty veteran player the Caps needed to land in order to add depth to the bottom two lines. I am also betting that a return trip to his hometown area will rejuvenate his career to the tune of a few more points next season.

Last season in Montreal he played in 72 games and notched 26 points (11 G, 15 A). In almost 800 NHL games Halpern has collected 342 points (142 goals, 200 assists).

In 34 career postseason playoff games, Halpern has recorded seven goals and six assists.

With Halpern’s signing, the Caps lost unrestricted free agent center Boyd Gordon, who signed a two-year deal with the Phoenix Coyotes. Signing Halpern allowed McPhee to save the Caps about a half million under the cap.

Gordon signed a two-year, $2.65 million dollar contract with Phoenix. In seven NHL seasons, all with the Caps, Gordon played in 363 games, scoring 85 points (27G, 58A).

July 1 (2:02 P.M.): The Varlamov Saga Comes to an End:

Last season the Capitals were blessed to have for the first time in NHL history, three goalies, aged 22-years or younger, win five or more starts. Varlamov joined 22-year-old Michael Neuvirth and 21-year-old Braden Holtby as a trio of goalies that won 48 games, posted a 2.29 GA and a .920 save percentage. Varlamov, the veteran of the three played in 59 games for the Caps in three seasons. When healthy, Varlamov could be stellar between the pipes. He was 11-9-5 while posting a 2.23 GA and a .924 save percentage for the Caps last season.

He was just 10-9 with a 2.49 GS in 19 post-season games for Washington. However, hamstrings, groins, knees and the KHL were becoming an issue in D.C.–Varlamov was a restricted free agent who had made it known that he was leaning
towards heading home to Russia to play in the Kontinental Hockey League. The KHL is the Soviet version of the NHL.

Caps beat writer Katie Carrera reported in the Washington Post on Friday that Varly and the Caps could not reach an agreement on a contract extension so McPhee pulled the trigger and sent Varly to the Colorado Avalanche. For Varly the Caps acquired a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and a second round pick in the 2012 or 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Injuries reduced the Russian net minder to just 27 games last season. How his groin and surgically repaired knee hold up, or what number on the depth chart he ranks, no longer became a concern of the Washington Capitals a little after two
o’clock on Friday.

Varlamov issued a statement following the trade through his North American agent saying, “I want to take this opportunity to say — Thank you to the Washington Capitals organization, the coaching, training, and medical staff, and the wonderful Caps’ fans for their support throughout my career and wish the organization nothing but the best.”

The deal was masterful for McPhee who rid the Caps of a potential total loss. If Varlamov had defected to the KHL, the Caps would be left holding nothing but his NHL negotiating rights. McPhee should have worn a mask announcing this deal because he robbed the Avs and even said he could not believe the value he got for Varly.

“We were hoping to have Semyon back this year and play a full season so we could get that kind of value for him next summer because we knew next summer we were going to have to do something with one of the goaltenders,” McPhee said“But we got that value now, and given the injury, I’m surprised we got that now.”

Washington acquired what this year was the No.2 overall pick in the first round. With that No.2 pick on draft night the Avs selected all world Swede, Gabriel Landeskog. Many believed the left winger could have also been a No.1 overall pick. Even though the Avalanche are expected to be better this season, they are very much still rebuilding in Denver and a top five pick is not out of the question in next year’s draft for the Caps.

At the time of this deal, the Caps were considered to be good shape with their two remaining young goalies. Playoff starter Michael Neuvirth and the very promising Braden Holtby are more than capable of handling the net minding duties. However, no one, not even George McPhee, could have imagined that the top goalie in the free agent market considered Washington the ideal situation to for him to win a Stanley Cup.

July 1 (3:45 P.M) McPhee Sends Message to League by Signing Joel Ward:

The Washington Capitals were far from done on the opening day of free agency, and with their next announcement, the Caps sent a message to the rest of the NHL that they were serious about winning the Stanley Cup next season.

Shortly after the Varlamov saga ended, Mcphee and the Caps signed North York, ON, Canada native and former Nashville Predator, Joel Ward to a four year deal worth $12 million dollars.

At 6′ 1″ and 220 pounds, Ward is a big presence in front of the net. He is known to have a great work ethic as well as a great hockey motor. Ward is a big two-way presence for Washington, and his style of play is something the Capitals desperately needed. He plays on the power play, the penalty kill and is hard to move in front of the net.

Ward represents one of the best free agent signings in McPhee’s 14-year tenure. The fact that McPhee went after Ward as hard as he did on day one and the fact that he gave him a four-year deal speaks volumes as to what the Capitals think Ward can do them. This, on top of the fact, that McPhee admitted to overpaying for Ward by as much as 15 percent. According
to the Caps GM
, as many as 16 other teams were vying for Wards services.

Ward, who will be 31 in December, recorded 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) and 42 penalty minutes in 80 games last season with the Nashville Predators.

He ranked second among Nashville forwards in blocked shots (57), third in takeaways (51) and fourth in hits (67).

Ward also seems to have a knack for stepping up his game in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He led the Predators in goals (7), assists (6) and points (13) in 12 games during this year’s playoffs, and recorded a point in nine of Nashville’s 12 postseason games, including a point in four straight games.

He has a total of 17 points in 18 career playoff games and chews up valuable ice time, as he has logged an average of almost 16 and a half minutes per game for his career.

McPhee and the Caps struck gold with Ward despite overpaying for him. Ward is by no means a bargain as a probable third line player. However, with his work ethic, Ward could push some wingers on the right side to step up their game.

In a conference call yesterday with local reporters, Ward sounded impressive saying all of the right things.

Ward said, “They (Caps) were very high on my list, one of the teams I’ve actually had a chance to visit the city before, and it’s been one of the teams on my list. I like the way they’re made up and with the skill level, they have, if I can help on the back end, so to speak, that’s going to be a positive thing. I’m looking forward to it.”

Ward also made mention that he knows what his role will be,” I definitely know my role, whether it’s to be [on line] one, two, three, four, winning games is the main thing, and regardless who I’m playing with, I’m just going to try to create some space for my line mates and some opportunities and just be defensively sound. Just pay attention to details is what I’m going to do and listen to what Coach Boudreau has to say and just try to execute as best I can.”

With the Varlamov saga over, and the acquisitions of Halpern and Ward, the Caps seem to have done all right for themselves on day one of free agency. However, just three minutes later they announced yet a signing.

July 1 (3:49 P.M) Roman Hamrlik Joins Caps Blue Line:

Roman Hamrlik brings experience

The Capitals have yet another former No.1 overall first round pick on the roster. Moments after announcing Joel Ward was now a member of the Caps, veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik joined Ward. The signing of Hamrlik is clearly an indication that the Caps are building for next spring. A veteran of 18 NHL seasons, Hamrlik joins a young core of defenseman and reports indicate coach Bruce Boudreau may pair the Zlin, Czech Republic, native with Mike Green on the Caps blue line.

He’s always been a good player,” McPhee said of Hamrlikand he might be a very good fit with Mike Green right now because Mike Green brings a lot of speed, and Hamrlik brings some real good sense, puck movement and good defensive play, so that was our thinking, but you just don’t know if they’re going to be available.”

Hamrlik, who signed a two-year $7 million dollar deal was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1st round (1st overall) of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. After trades to Edmonton and the Islanders, Hamrlik signed with the Calgary Flames in 2005 as a free agent.

Following a two-year stint in western Canada, Hamrlik signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Against the Capitals in the 2010 playoffs, Hamrlik recorded three assists and was a minus-4. Hamrlik brings a plethora of experience and his acquisition most assuredly marks the end of Scott Hannans brief career in D.C.

He is also an insurance policy as Tom Potti’s career appears to be in jeopardy with a groin injury. A three-time NHL All-Star, he won a gold medal as a member of the Czech Republic at the 1998 Olympics and also represented his country at the 2002 Olympics, the World Cup (1996, 2004), the World Championships (1994, 2004) and the World Junior Championships (1992).

Saturday July 2  (7:23 P.M.) Sometimes, It’s Better to Be Lucky Than Good, Welcome to D.C. Tomas Vokoun:

Vokoun vs. the Caps

George McPhee assured everyone that would listen on Friday, that the Capitals were done signing what he thought was the missing parts to his team. Then the opportunity to sign the best goalie in the free agent market fell into McPhee’s
lap and he did not let it fall through. On Saturday, the Capitals signed free agent goaltender Tomas Vokoun to a
one-year contract worth, and here is the unbelievable part, $1.5 million dollars.

“I don’t think we anticipated being this fortunate,” McPhee said Sunday.This is a heck of a move for the organization. We thought we were done a couple of days ago. We’ve been telling other GMs and the media that we were done making offers because we thought we were.”

Lucky for McPhee and the Capitals the market was unkind to the 35-year-old Vokoun. The Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, native was not treated as well as he thought when the market opened at noon on Friday. Vokoun told the Florida
Sun Sentinel on Sunday
that he had been seeking a multi-year offer and actually had turned down both two- and three-year offers from the Panthers. In addition, with impending free-agent goalies Ilya Bryzgalov (Philadelphia) and
Dwayne Roloson (Tampa Bay) both signed to contracts before the free-agent signing period began, Vokoun figured to be the biggest catch in terms of talent and dollars at the goalie position.

Fortunate for the Capitals, he was wrong. “I found out I didn’t have a whole lot of offers. Unfortunately for me the
money side is not great, but I think the opportunity is unbelievable,” Vokoun said. “It was disappointing, no question, but I think whatever the circumstances or reason why it happened I don’t know. I think my level of my play was high for a pretty long time and I can’t control what happens on the market, I can only control how I play.”

It wasn’t pretty, but everything happens for a reason. I’ve never had a chance to play for a team like this. It came to me on a steep price but it’s not just about the money.” Vokoun told Washington reporters during a conference call on Sunday“Obviously, it was a disappointing day for me, July 1. For whatever reason, I was basically in the bad spot and Washington came in.”

Vokoun was not guaranteed the starting job and will compete with Michael Neuvirth and Braden Holtby during training camp for the No.1 spot. However, McPhee was gleaming ear-to-ear with smiles and knows that Vokoun
will likely start the season as the Caps No.1 man. “This is quite a move for our organization,” McPhee said. “No one was anticipating that a player of this caliber would be available. We were certainly willing to go with the two young guys. The concern would be if we had an injury to one of those two, how deep would we be after that? Those were our initial thoughts [after trading Varlamov] and we were working on adding another top minor league goaltender when this opportunitypresented itself.”

Vokoun will enter his 14th season as a Washington Capital. Last season, for a below average Panthers team, he posted a record of 22-28-5 with a 2.55 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in 57 games. It marked the eighth consecutive season Vokoun recorded 20 or more wins and the third-straight season he has registered a save percentage of .920 or higher.

The 6’, 215-pound net minder has played the fifth-most games among active goaltenders (632) and ranks 39th all-time in career NHL wins (262), 17th in saves (16,957) and 27th in shutouts (44). His .917 career save percentage is tied for sixth in the NHL among active goaltenders and he ranks eighth in wins, fifth in shutouts and 18th in goals-against average (2.56). Vokoun is tied for the best save percentage (.922) in the NHL since the 2005-06 season and is tied for the fourth-most shutouts in that span (32).

The Caps were content heading into the season with youth between the pipes once again. While Michael Neuvirth was stellar in round one of the playoffs against the New York Rangers, he began to show his youth and inexperience against the Lightning, as 41-year-old Dwayne Roloson and Bolts back-up Mike Smith, outplayed the 22-year-old Czech native in the second round. Although Vokoun has appeared in just 11 post-season games with the Nashville Predators, he has experience at winning big games, which let face it, is why McPhee signed him.

On the world stage, Vokoun’s numbers are sick. The 6’, 215-pound net minder led the Czech national team to a gold medal during the 2010 World Championships, posting a record of 7-1 with 1.57 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage.

He also helped backstop the Czechs to a gold medal in the 2005 World Championships and was awarded the Directorate’s Best Goaltender Award while being selected to the tournament All-Star team. Vokoun captured a bronze medal at the 2006, Olympics and represented the Czech Republic in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. In international play, which is as important around the world as the Stanley Cup is in North America, Vokoun is 31-12-1 with an amazing 1.80 goals-against
average and a .929 save percentage.

While Halpern, Ward, and Hamrlik were big needed additions, none of them could single handedly win two or three games in the post season. Vokoun can, as he is more than capable of carrying the Caps through a rough spot in the post
season. If the Caps win the Stanley Cup next spring, the addition of Thomas Vokoun to the Washington roster will turn out to be the biggest reason why.

What Does the Last Two Weeks Mean? The Stanley Cup Is Closer Than Ever in D.C:

This is the end result Caps fans are looking for

The Washington Capitals have to be the odds on favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Yes, Flyers fans even favorites over the Broad Street Bullies. Not to leave my Western Pennsylvania friends out of the mix, the Caps should also be picked over a healthy Sid the Kid as well.

What the Eastern Conference may come down to is Thomas Vokoun vs. Ilya Bryzgalov vs. Marc-Andre Fleury.

Should the Capitals actually win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history next season, the Conn Smyth, the Hart, the Lindsay and every other MVP award should be given to GM George McPhee.

To say that McPhee and the Capitals have had their best off-season is a huge understatement. McPhee started this mission off by trading a low first round pick for a Stanley Cup-winning forward in Troy Brouwer, then he re-signed fan favorite Brooks Laich.

Once the free agency bell rang on Friday at noon, McPhee snatched up a former Caps captain and hometown native, Jeff Halpern. He then traded his oft-injured young Russian goalie, who was threatening defection to a foreign league, for two high draft picks to the Colorado Avalanche.

Next, McPhee made the Caps intentions well known for next season by admittedly spending a little more for a solid two-way workhorse in winger Joel Ward. He then added a former No.1 overall selection in defenseman Roman Hamrlik.

On Saturday, McPhee added icing layered with real gold to an already well-rounded cake by snatching the best goalie in the free agent market for next to nothing. The best part is, when you consider what Varlamov just signed for in Colorado, the word steal does not describe what McPhee did with his goaltending situation.

The Caps no longer have just youth and inexperience between the pipes. They no longer lack the grit and toughness up front or down low, and they now appear to have one of the most balanced blue lines in the NHL.

Although, the Caps were in good shape defensively prior to free agency. Their youth combined with some veteran leadership last season allowed Washington to finish the season as a top five defense, with the No.2 penalty-killing unit in the NHL. Let us also not forget that they managed to have the best statistical season defensively in franchise history.

For a peak at what the Caps line pairings could be next season, check out this article by Jack Soule, right here on the Bleacher Report. The possibilities are endless for head coach Bruce Boudreau.

What also is endless for Boudreau, will be the pressure. No longer will Boudreau’s fans be able to say the Caps do not have the players or the dressing room to win a Stanley Cup. If the Caps fail next season, Boudreau will be gone faster than a talking intern working on Capitol Hill.

In fact, it could be good-bye Boudreau at any time this up-coming season if the Caps are mired in another eight game losing streak like the one they were in last December.

Many believe that McPhee may still look to pull a blockbuster trade that includes Alexander Semin and Mike Green. That is a hard scenario to imagine given the fact that both are huge talents that the Caps are fortunate to have.

There will be a trade but it will not involve Semin or Green. Washington is just more than $500,000 away from the salary cap of $64.3 million after signing Vokoun.

The Caps still have two restricted free agents to sign in defenseman Karl Alzner and winger Troy Brouwer. Consider that McPhee and the Caps will not lose this years first round pick or a young defenseman for nothing, makes a trade almost imminent.

Owner Ted Leonsis said as much in Ted’s Take on Saturday. Leonsis said, “We will be able to resign Karl Alzner and Troy Brouwer so everyone who is amped up, please try to relax just a bit, we will look to make some trades in the offseason maybe even sign another free agent. We will continue to look at all of our options. We may not be able to get anything done. We may be able to do something. Time will tell.”

In a post on Ted’s Take titled ” Tomas Vokoun Is A Capital“,Leonsis asked Caps fans if the team delivered on its promise to get better. “Did we deliver on our promise to shake up the team so far this off season? A veteran goalie; a center; a wing; another wing; and a D man plus a first round and second round pick all this off-season plus Brooks Laich re-signed with us as well. Very productive, don’t you think?

Yes Mr. Leonsis, you and your MVP GM George McPhee delivered. However, as you said, only time will tell if Lord Stanley will reside in the nation’s capital for a season or two. If the last two and half weeks tell us anything, there is a good possibility that it will.


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