McPhee (10 of 14)

Photos by Chris Gordon

Monday morning, George McPhee said goodbye to an organization he’s known for 17 years.

He was charming, not bitter, during his 34-minute press conference at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Canned on Saturday, McPhee deflected blame toward himself, refusing to discuss individual performances.

“Should I start by saying fire away or is that the wrong terminology?” McPhee joked as he walked up to the podium. “I felt it was coming, but in this job, you’re 24 hours away from being fired almost any time.”

“I’m the manager and I was supposed to get it done,” he added. “I’m not going to say anything negative about anyone here. No thanks. … I blame no one.”

Instead, McPhee wanted his press conference to be a farewell more than a postmortem. When he joined the organization, his son Graham had yet to be born. Last week, McPhee read Capitals scouting reports on him. Throughout his talk, McPhee praised his former players, praised his former coaches, and he praised the people that fired him. On Saturday morning, team president Dick Patrick placed a call to McPhee. An hour later, owner Ted Leonsis contacted him too.

“When I saw that it was from the office at 10 o’clock Saturday morning I thought ‘Well this isn’t gonna be good news,’” McPhee said. “Our last game was Sunday … [I didn’t want to] get whacked on Sunday night or Monday morning. I wanted a chance to just breathe a little and talk about it. I thought it worked really well.”

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  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • Guest

    He’s smiling because he knows that after this season, it’s only downhill for the caps. Good for him for getting away from it.

  • Alex

    “Should I start by saying fire away or is that the wrong terminology?”

    This guy… lol

  • William Nogay

    I will miss McPhee. An excellent man. And I know there is some ill will around here towards him, but I thought he did a masterful job over his tenure. I would not have been upset if he stayed, but understand the reasoning behind parting ways with him. I will always have a soft spot for GMGM. Thank you, and good luck, George.

  • DWBurns12

    “We have no bad contracts on the books.” ….. Speaks volumes about why this decision was not only correct, but more so needed and long overdue.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Consider that he may be lying.

  • Rob W.

    I might not have liked some of his decisions over the years but he is a classy guy and I hope he does well wherever he lands

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Yeah that was great.

  • Todd N

    you’re one of the very few.

  • DWBurns12

    Lying is an understatement. He’s spent the last 3-4 years taking dump after dump in the teams coffers and while never making the roster better ….. now he smiles and makes jokes as he walks away? I’m supposed to wring my hands and thank him for his service?

    He’s the reason — above anyone else — that this team has stayed stagnant. He can take his scarves and his smugness and prance on to New Jersey.

  • Zach Williams

    I liked McPhee. He did a lot of good stuff for us. It was his time to go and the Capitals to move on. Good luck to him in the future.

  • William Nogay

    I’m alright with that

  • William Nogay

    Did he though? I feel like year after year, there were great things expected out of what was often viewed by people all around the league as an extremely deep and talented Washington lineup. Could it be possible that maybe the players simply weren’t playing at the level they should have? And then there’s the other possibility that some of these players weren’t being correctly utilized by their coaching staff. I liked Adam Oates as a person and player but I would certainly cede that he did not do a very good job in his first year coaching. I think if you look at some of the talent that has arrived here in Washington, especially through the draft (GM’s are pretty involved with those) you can see substantial evidence to contradict the theory that Washington’s stagnation can be mostly attributed to its General Manager.

  • Michael Riley

    A positive thing to say about George McPhee: He is good at drafting.

  • Owen Johnson

    Good for him. I wish him all the best. It was just time for the organization to part ways.
    Also, on the 9th pic down, if he took a step to the right, he would have weagle wings.

  • BaltimoreHockey

    I really found it interesting that GM said after Dale Hunter left he thought they had to reset. He also said Dale really brought that team together. I love Ovechkin, but if I could, I would bring back Dale Hunter and Trade Ovechkin(for D man or young two prospect and picks) and start playing the style that wins. Dale Hunter found a way to win and Ovi was blocking shots. A little refinement with drafting good two- way players and that is what makes Cup Teams.

  • Jack Conness

    I’m happy this is all happening, and happening smoothly. Oates and GMGM both said the right things and will move on. Believe me, I wanted both of them gone as much as the next person but I wish them luck in the future. I can’t wait to see what happens with the Capitals next.

  • JenniferH

    Classy guy. Went out well in the end.

  • Brian Bean

    Would this guy lie to you…………..

  • Lawrence

    Kinda wish GMGM went all out during this press conference, as I am sure he has opinions of many of the questions us caps fans want to know. I found his expressions during the ovechkin questions to be kinda interesting. I think he realizes the ridiculous expectations that people put on ovi is pretty unjust.

    From the interview I got the feeling that he didn’t like Oates as a coach, which seemed pretty obvious to anyone looking at the transactions during oates era, but he pretty much confirmed that thought during the interview (the 85 percent coaching thing).

    I also think one of his biggest regrets was trading away young talent, “to push us over the top”. He went back to that point several times on his own and didn’t look happy with his decisions on that one.

    Pretty interesting to hear him say he thinks we are close to competing for a cup, but stated our best shot was with hunter. Just proves how many different opinions are in this organization, which is one of the biggest issues in my mind. The best teams don’t have these types of issues, defensive, offensive, star player systems, etc. The next gm needs to be better at this. And as RMNB has stated, that means going in several directions (one without ovechkin, please god no).

    GMGM as a person is great. He should be proud of the class and the effort he gave this organization for such a long time.

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    I think Russ Mahoney was good at drafting. Before Mahoney came aboard, McPhee was putrid.

  • Doublenickelporn

    Is he, look at the draft history pre Ross Mahoney, you might change your tune.

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    Masterful? he was McPheediocre.

  • Michael Riley

    Never heard of Ross Mahoney, would love to see a link to some examples of his timeline with the team.

  • Pat Magee

    He did a lot of great things, and a lot of things made you go “What the hell are you thinking??”

    I do agree with him, though. We will be great again in a couple years. This crop of prospects coming looks fantastic!

  • http://www.twitch.tv/barrowsboy Andrew

    I can only hope whoever comes up next is as invested as he was. I loved his transparency as a true fan of his team, I’ll miss him.

  • Matt Root

    Brooks Laich is/was not worth 4.5 million

  • bskillet

    Really liked him as a player but it was time to go, something had to change and new faces lets hope does the trick.

  • Mike

    If carlzner was as projected we wouldnt be here
    If BB or DH stayed we wouldnt be here
    If Erat and Penner didnt happen we may not be here
    If Green didnt lose his norris nominee ways we wouldnt be here
    MOST IMPORTANTLY IF HALAK WAS MURDERED AS A BABY WE WOULD HAVE HAD MIN OF 2 CUPS

  • liquid8d

    Does he looked relieved to anyone else? Or is that just how it comes across in the pictures… hmmm.

  • Mike Logan

    Sorry gotta go with Tom and 55 on this one – the late round picks ESP (note: high 2nd is not a late rounder) were pretty bad.

  • Mike Logan

    “Paper thin” is how many view the caps roster – sorry to break it to ya

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    Never heard of Mahoney? He’s the scouting director I believe is his title. I’m not here to put down anyone, but if you don’t know who does what in the organization, then you really aren’t in a position to properly critique McPhee.

  • William Nogay

    Over the past several years? I sincerely disagree

  • Roy Schue

    If you liked dale hunters extremely boring style of hockey, you should follow the devils

  • GuestZ

    Of course he was positive and all smiles. You think he doesn’t want another job after this one?

    Having a nice guy is nice, but when you build a team and you let the coach ef up their utilization, it’s still on you.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Nope, not just pictures. Looks like he had an elephant lifted off his shoulders.

  • Rhino40

    Dancing on graves is just bad Karma, Tom.

  • Jalabar

    I would have been fine with GMGM staying. I just didn’t want him to pick the next coach.

  • Jalabar

    I thought it was kind of telling when Gorm asked about Ovi’s +/- and GMGM said “That’s the next guy’s problem.”
    Also noted he spoke in front of an NHL emblem, not the usual Caps’ background.

  • Alex

    +1 on the last part

  • Guest

    I believe that is a direct quote, btw.

    But on what basis do you base your disagreement – at what core position would you say, ok the caps are elite and well-stocked? shutdown dmen? world-class goalie?

    I mean as fans, it’s fine to be supportive – but the gm, at least, should see things clearly for what they are.

  • Doublenickelporn