On the hot seat?

On the hot seat?
November 20, 2011, 5:30 am
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As general managers go, George McPhee is as quiet as they come.

So it's hard to read too much into the fact that McPhee fell silent when asked after the Capitals' 7-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night if he was willing to give Bruce Boudreau a vote of confidence.

But the Capitals have lost four straight games, six of their last seven and are 3-7-1 since starting the season with seven straight victories.

And they are coming off the kind of defeat that costs coaches, even the most successful ones, their jobs.

Since getting swept from the second round of last year's playoffs, Boudreau has vowed to be tougher on his players this season and he has.

He's benched Alex Ovechkin, who is a team-worst minus-6 and has gone four games without a point. He has benched Alex Semin, who leads the Capitals with 14 minor penalties. He skated his players into the ground following a listless loss to the Dallas Stars.

So now what? Does McPhee make a major trade?

Does he try to unload Semin's one-year 6.7 million salary?

Or does he go the more dramatic route and make a coaching change?

Just before the start of the regular season, CSNwashington.com asked McPhee about the persistent rumors that Boudreau was on thin ice.

"You dont listen to the outside voices," McPhee said. "You trust your own opinions and your own inner voice and thats how we make decisions."

Over the next 24 hours McPhee will spend a lot of time listening to that inner voice. What it tells him will determine if Boudreau gets a chance to turn around a season that has made a sudden wrong turn.