After 2 big wins at home against Montreal, and on the road in Toronto it seemed the Caps were poised to be buyers and improve the roster at the deadline. Still sitting outside the playoffs in the standings the Caps would do something right? Not so fast Caps fans, George McPhee apparently feels this team is ready to contend with it's current lineup.
The rumors began last week that the Capitals were shopping Roman Hamrlik and Mike Knuble. Hamrlik more so especially after he and head coach Dale Hunter had a bit of a back and forth in the media last week. As it turns out the 2 are stuck with each other for the rest of the regular season, and maybe beyond as Hamrlik is under contract for next season and Hunter may return. In the case of Mike Knuble it seemed like neither side wanted to part but something just is not working and it seemed a deal was looming. It is believed that the Capitals priced themselves out of the market of being able to move Hamrlik and Knuble asking for high draft choices and prospects for both. For the Caps it will be business as usual with the same players who have underachieved all season. It's a big risk for McPhee because if he stands by this team and they miss the playoffs at some point his seat will begin to heat up and his job security will begin to be questioned.
You can look at this 2 ways, 1 you can be optimistic and say the Caps are confident in the players they have and the team they've built. Or 2, you can go negative and say the Caps don't know what they're doing and the Caps missed a big opportunity to turn bad players into good assets for the future. For now because I still believe in the majority of this team I'll look at it positively and say the Caps didnt wanna mess with the team and believe they will eventually snap out of it and become the team they should've been all year. It's hard to think that McPhee didn't have something in place as the Capitals put Nicklas Backstrom on long term injured reserve clearing cap-space for some kind of move. I was glued to the television after I heard this news waiting to see Derek Roy or Dustin Brown coming to DC and even had a moment of pure insanity thinking of a #61 Nash jersey flying up and down the ice for the Caps. However the day turned out to be a dud and Capitals made no moves at all.
I can't help but think the last 2 trade deadlines may have scared George McPhee away from making any moves today. Last year McPhee acquired Jason Arnott, Dennis Wideman, and Marco Sturm with very little to show for it. The year before, McPhee made a head scratching trade to get Joe Corvo, and Scott Walker just to see his team eliminated in round 1 of the playoffs by the eight seeded Montreal Canadiens. If one thing is for sure on deadline day it's that deals don't always equal results and that's especially true in the Caps case. Time for Caps fans to hope the current roster gels and starts to show the talent they have on paper when the games are played.