So, how do we move forward from here? Who do we can, who do we keep, who do we kill? For a President's Trophy winning team with a two time MVP, no one is to be spared. Let's start from the top:
General Manager: George McPhee
Why we keep him:
Tenure - he's been the boss since '97.
Success - Five Southeast Division Championships, seven playoff appearances in twelve seasons. One Stanley Cup appearance (97-98).
Drafting - A lot of NHL regulars were drafted by GMGM. Included (in order of draft year, not prominence or impact with the Capitals): Boynton, Barch, Beech, Sutherby, Pettinger, Paetsch, Oduya, Eminger, Semin, Gordon, Fehr, Ovechkin, Schultz, Green, Lepisto, Tim Kennedy, Backstrom, Varlamov. Neuvirth, Chris Bourque, Mathieu Perreault, Alzner, and Carlson are all in the works, and have some decent NHL experience under their belt.
Trading - Some of his better trades include: Carey, Allison, Carter, and a 3rd for Oates, Tocchet, and Ranford; future considerations for Craig Billington; 3rd round pick for Kristich; Zednik, Bulis, and a 1st for Linden, Zubrus, and a 2nd; Linden and a 2nd for the 1st that became Semin; Oates for Maxime Ouellet, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks; Witt for Beech and a 1st (Varlamov); Ted Ruth for Fedorov; (NHL scoring leader) Lang for Fleischmann; Nylander for a 2nd; Gonchar for a 1st, 2nd, and Morrisonn; Bondra for Laich and a 2nd round pick that was traded to the Avs; a bag of pucks for Jagr.
Free Agency - Pothier, Brashear, Kozlov, Poti, Knuble, Morrison
Why we can him:
Tenure - So what?
Success - Seven playoff appearances in twelve years for a team that had that much talent, and in that soft of a division. The Capitals lone Stanley Cup appearance in (97-98), though he inherited the team. One series win in the eleven seasons since.
Drafting - Overall it's been very positive. No one's perfect, but GMGM is pretty damn good.
Trading - Jagr.
Free Agency - Nylander. And the fact that Pothier and Poti are considered highlights.
Keep him. He's had mixed success, and built this current team from the ground up. He was given a fresh start after the lockout, and he's more than proven his weight with his drafting and trading track record. The Capitals were never very active in the free agency market, and that has to change. McPhee needs to pursue some free agents, and throw some money around. He's got the biggest draw in the world by having an already strong team; all he has to do is go after the right people. More on this to come.
Head Coach: Bruce Boudreau
Why we keep him:
Tenure - He's been with the kids since 05-06.
Success - His only two full seasons with the Bears, he appeared in two Calder Cup Finals, winning one. He's also won a championship with the ECHL Mississippi Sea Wolves (apparently Mississippi has ice). With the Capitals, he inherited a team that was quickly maturing, and implemented a "fun style". Couple that with the fact that he was coaching a bunch of players he was coaching a year prior in the NHL, and you have a player's coach. The players trust him. Or at least the young ones do.
Why we can him:
Tenure - What tenure?
Success - I could coach the Caps to 50 wins in the pathetic Southeast. "Hey Ovechkin. Put puck in net. Go."
Fire him. He's a player's coach, but he's not a great coach. He doesn't really seem to have a stranglehold on what it means to coach playoff hockey, and he doesn't really seem to care that his team can't even spell defense.
Bring in a disciplinarian. Bring in a guy who's hardened. But make sure it's a young coach. A guy who's willing to work with what he's got, and cultivate a guy like Semin into a hard worker. Or make Green a better defenseman. Yes folks, I'm talking Rick Tocchet. The guy that resurrected Steve Downie's career. The guy that brought Stamkos to the next level. You remember, Stamkos, the Rocket Richard winner who's not ready for the NHL. The guy that inherited a team riddled with problems from the ownership on down, and took them to respectability, even though they weren't even supposed to compete for a playoff spot.
And he did this with a rag-tag group. Imagine what he could do with the softest team on the planet.
More to come, I'm tired.