McPhee's advice for successor: 'Enjoy the journey'

McPhee's advice for successor: 'Enjoy the journey'
May 3, 2014, 11:15 am
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(Associated Press)

In his own exit interview with reporters on Monday, deposed Capitals general manager George McPhee had a lot to say. Over the past week we’ve broken down his closing remarks on his 17-year career in Washington into bite-sized pieces for your consumption.

Here’s the fifth and final part of McPhee’s farewell news conference:

On the impact of the Capitals losing to Jaroslav Halak and the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs:  

That’s a really good question. That was a hard one. You win a Presidents’ Trophy [with 121 points]. That almost felt like one of the longest years I’ve had here because I think we wrapped up a playoff position sometime in January and it felt like forever until the end of the season. And then you get into the series and you’re up 3-1 and you don’t win. That was really hard on everyone. In the third period of that game, we tie it up and if the referee doesn’t wash it out, you get the next one, the game’s over, you win the series and away you go. Those are the margins in our business. Had we won that or had we, in New York in Game 5 [of the 2012 second-round playoff series] when they tied it up with six seconds to go, if the referee doesn’t call a penalty [on Joel Ward] … Margins are thin in this business. If you’re lucky enough to get a bounce and win, then it makes you a good team for a long time.

On changing the way they played the following season, in 2010-11:

I think that was the year we asked Bruce [Boudreau] to play a little more defensive and the amazing thing was he did. He pulled it off. He played two different ways and continued to win. He’s an outstanding coach and a good guy.

On the recent turnover of coaches resulting in a downward trend:

No, I don’t think so.  I don’t want to be negative here. We missed the playoffs by three points for the first time in seven years. We’re doing something really well. Systems don’t matter a whole lot. That should be 10-15 percent of what you’re doing. That’s your foundation. It’s about coaching and making it work and our coaches have been making it work.

On if he has advice for the general manager who will replace him:

Enjoy the journey, that’s what it’s about. Have fun and enjoy the journey. And when the head worms start going, call somebody.

On the amount of autonomy he had as Capitals general manager: 

I made the decisions.

On if he intends to go on vacation:

I don’t know. I’m usually trying to get ready for the next game. I don’t know. I still have kids in school, so there will be time for that later.

On how he would like to be remembered:

Well, I didn’t die, you know. It felt like that a few times. But listen, I did the best I could because that’s what you’re supposed to do. I did the best I could. I put everything I had into it so I don’t have any flowery final words other than it’s been a great ride and I feel very, very lucky and fortunate.”

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