Evaluations continue on McPhee and Oates

Evaluations continue on McPhee and Oates
April 16, 2014, 11:00 am
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It has been one week since the Capitals were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Three days since they ended their regular season with the 17th-best record in the NHL.

Two days since owner Ted Leonsis began his “comprehensive review” of what transpired this season and began listening to “appropriate voices” to determine “what steps are necessary” to get the Capitals back to being a Stanley Cup contender.

And now we wait.

At the conclusion of Leonsis’ comprehensive review he will determine whether George McPhee will be renewed for an 18th season as Capitals general manager and whether Adam Oates returns for a third season behind the Capitals bench.

Under the terms of most NHL contracts for team executives, a year of service expires following the NHL draft of that year, which would mean McPhee’s current contract would run through June 28.

Oates has one year remaining on his three-year contract with the Capitals.

If Leonsis decides to relieve McPhee of his duties he would need to give a new general manager ample time to assemble the necessary scouting staff to conduct the NHL draft and begin making decisions on the Capitals’ roster.

However, if Leonsis is interested in hiring a new general manager who is currently employed by an NHL team, he would not be granted permission to speak to that potential candidate until after that team is eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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In many cases, a new general manager would request the freedom to hire his own coaching staff, although there have been instances when coaches have been retained under new GMs. In 2010, after Pierre Gauthier replaced general manager Bob Gainey in Montreal, head coach Jacques Martin was retained by the Canadiens.

Considering the support he has received from his players, at least publicly, that could be the case with Oates.

Leonsis also could decide to retain McPhee and allow him to replace Oates behind the bench. If that happens, the Capitals would begin the 2014-15 season with their fourth head coach in four years.

How much input the Capitals’ players will have in Leonsis’ decision-making process remains unclear. McPhee has spent the past two days meeting with players at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

“You obviously hear all the stuff going on, so you’re not oblivious to everything,” Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby said on Monday. “But as players we have nothing to do with that, other than the fact we might have had a hand in getting those rumors started because of our play, and that’s something we’re not proud of.

“We want to reflect our coach and GM in a positive way with the way we play. As players we take a big responsibility in those rumors because we want to be better.”