So the Washington Capitals have cleaned house, letting General Manager George McPhee and Head Coach Adam Oates go after another disappointing season. It's a sad outcome for Mr. Oates, it'll be hard for him to find other employment, trapped as he is within the confines of that horrible facelift.
On the subject of youthfulness, I have to say I didn’t realize how long George McPhee had been in charge in Washington, he’s been the GM for 17 seasons. That’s really good longevity in that business. Part of the confusion might stem from the fact that he looks pretty young still. According to my math he was 38 when he first got the job, and at 55 now he'll be eminently employable.
It's probably not a huge surprise for him though, the handwriting was kind of on the wall, the Capitals let his contract expire on him this season. They basically gave him at least one year’s notice, that he had to produce or ship out.
And in there maybe do we see the roots of the disastrous Martin Erat trade. A GM who was under the gun, couldn’t be patient, felt he had to pull a rabbit out of a hat before last season's playoffs. Which is why it’s probably wiser to not have staff on expiring contracts, it’s penny-wise and pound-foolish to try to save a year or two of salary on these guys if it means you lose a prospect like Filip Forsberg in the process.
This trade deadline, a less blatant 'future is now' move was acquiring Dustin Penner for a draft pick, which was a bit of a puzzler, but can be explained as betting on a longshot and hoping it pans out, that maybe he can catch fire on a line with Alex Ovechkin.
And now we get to be on the Alexander Ovechkin watch, for the next couple of months at least. There are rumours, or rather guesses by pundits, that he'll leave the NHL for the KHL as Ilya Kovalchuk did. A limited no-trade-clause kicks in this July for the Caps' captain, whereby he can name ten teams he can veto a trade to (the Edmonton-Winnipeg prophylactic clause), updated annually.