Earlier Tuesday, Oates was officially named the Capitals’ new head coach. Then, not a half an hour later, it was announced that the legendary playmaker had been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, which we’re pretty sure has never happened before in the history of the sport.
Alex Ovechkin never complained about the locked-down, grinding system that the Capitals played while Dale Hunter coached the team. Despite his decreased role and the emphasis on defense, Ovechkin often stated that he understood that it was about the team, and that he would accept whatever role he was given. Hunter appeared to leave town on good terms with the Russian star.
Not all of the people iconic to Caps hockey are the players on the ice. Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin are a part of the experience all year, holding our hands through nail-biting overtime games, hugging us after crushing defeats.
GMGM’s finger-circles: an apt metaphor for his negotiations with Ray Shero.
Jordan Staal maniacally laughing.
Since the offseason began, it has been a well-circulated rumor that Penguins center Jordan Staal wanted to leave Pittsburgh to play with his older brother Eric in Carolina. When he turned down an offer of a ten-year deal from the Penguins, that rumor seemed all but confirmed.
It wasn’t much of a surprise then, when Gary Bettman stepped up to the podium at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and announced that Staal had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for a first-round pick, Brandon Sutter, and prospect Brian Dumoulin. Jordan got his wish (to be on a team which someday may only consist of Staal brothers), and apparently nowhere else was even an option.
Notably, the Caps selected three players from the U.S. developmental team, and one player recently of the U.S. developmental team. “I asked [the scouts] ‘What are we doing here?” said McPhee about this trend. “Are we drafting the whole team?’”
“We made a lot of picks today,” McPhee said of the second day overall. “I don’t know those kids very well. [...] It’s nice to sort of restock this year, and we’ll see how they are in a couple of years.”
Filip Forsberg poses with Gary Bettman, George McPhee, and Ross Mahoney. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)
As the number 11 pick drew near, it seemed as if George McPhee would get a steal regardless of who he took. Both Mikhail Grigorenko and Filip Forsberg, rated as top five talents heading into the draft, had been passed over by the first ten teams.
With the 16th selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Washington Capitals selected Tom Wilson of the Plymouth Whalers. Wilson is a right winger and projects to be a rugged power forward who hits hard and plays rough. Wilson is 6’4 and more physically developed than most players of his age, and is an excellent open-ice checker, winning the OHL award for best body checker last year. The Capitals will select next in the third round.