Washington • General manager George McPhee and coach Adam Oates lost their jobs with the Washington Capitals on Saturday, about two weeks after the team failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
"We were left with the overall impression that the team wasn’t trending toward being able to compete for a Stanley Cup," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said in a news conference at the club’s arena. "And that was just a clear signal and why it was time to make those changes."
McPhee’s contract was up and the team announced it will not give him a new one after his 17 years as the GM, which included drafting Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in the first round. Oates was fired with one season left on his three-year deal. A former star player for the Capitals, he was in his first job as an NHL head coach.
Washington finished this season with the ninth-most points in the Eastern Conference, one spot out of a playoff berth.
"You have to do something to pivot the team to be an ongoing strong team," Leonsis said. "And I just felt that new leadership at this time was needed, and let’s start it with a clean slate."
Asked whether any player would be untouchable as part of upcoming changes — a chance, perhaps, for Leonsis to mention captain and top scorer Ovechkin — the owner replied: "I’m not the general manager. So If the general manager comes with something, we would listen to the general manager."
Ovechkin has won three league MVP awards and again led the NHL in scoring this season with 51 goals, but the Capitals haven’t made it past the second round of the playoffs during the Russian wing’s career.
Stars forward Garbutt fined $1,500
Dallas Stars forward Ryan Garbutt was fined $1,474 — the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement — by the NHL on Saturday for spearing Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry in the groin Friday night.
Garbutt was given a major penalty for spearing and a game misconduct midway through the first period in the Stars’ 6-2 loss at Anaheim.
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