WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 20: Mike Knuble #22 of the Washington Capitals reacts after a play against the Nashville Predators during the first period at Verizon Center on December 20, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

NHL Trade Rumors: George McPhee Says 'I Wouldn't Make Big Changes' In Offseason

The Capitals GM talks about Washington's quiet trade deadline and why he wants Dale Hunter back to coach next season.

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NHL Trade Deadline: George McPhee On Dale Hunter's Future And Why He Didn't Make A Move

Only a few days past the deadline, Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee went on the radio with ESPN 980's The Sports Reporters. During that interview he talked about many topics that have been going through the minds of Capitals fans since the Capitals made no moves at the trade deadline. One of the biggest topics talked about was the future of Capitals head coach Dale Hunter

"Would you want him back next year?" Steve Czaban asked.

"Yes," McPhee answered immediately.

"I haven't said he's on a one-year deal, other people have. Nobody's ever known what our coach's deals were, because I've always been changing them mid-stream. But I like what Dale does because he keeps people accountable. If you want to play, you better play hard, you better play honest, and if you're out of the lineup, it's gonna be hard to get back in."

The Capitals have won their last three games and find themselves currently holding the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Even if the Capitals fail to make the playoffs this season, McPhee indicated in the interview that he is not planning on making significant moves in the offseason.

I wouldn't make big changes. You know, if we didn't have these injuries to two really important players, then I'd say boy this team isn't good enough. But our goal-tending going forward is gonna be good with the young guys we have, and we need these guys - the Greens, the Backstroms, the Ovechkins - these guys have to be healthy. I mean, if any team in this league loses guys like that for most of the year, you're gonna be scratching and clawing, and that's where we are.

The Capitals only have 19 games remaining on the schedule and stand three points behind the first place Florida Panthers in the Southeast Division.

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George McPhee: 'There Wasn't Anything There That Would Have Been The Right Thing' For Capitals

BALLSTON, Va. - After not making any trades before Monday's trade deadline, Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee addressed the media to explaining his reasoning.

"We weren't interested in moving anyone out of here and we didn't," McPhee said. "We would have added something to the team if we thought it would make us better, but it had to make us better. What transpired today, there wasn't anything there that would have been the right thing for our club."

McPhee said that the Caps had been on the phone fielding offers for about a week, seemingly talking to every other team "10 or 15 times." Yet, none of those talks yielded any sort of return. According to McPhee, that happened because most teams are still in the hunt for a playoff berth and were looking to add as opposed to giving up assets.

"The theme of this year's deadline was everybody wanted to add and there was no one selling," McPhee said. "There were probably three or four sellers and a couple of them are in our division, so it wasn't like we were going to able to do much with them. Everyone seemed to want our players, but they wanted to give us futures and prospects and I wasn't interested in doing that."

Perhaps the two biggest names reportedly available from Washington were Mike Knuble and Roman Hamrlik, who have both been healthy scratches recently. Even if those two have been sitting out, McPhee understood their importance to the Caps and ultimately decided to keep them.

"I wouldn't expect anyone to be happy sitting out," McPhee said. "We have to make tough decisions on who's in and who's out. The bottom line is we need everybody and we’re going to need them. It’s not as if people volunteer to sit out."

Early Monday, the Caps placed Nicklas Backstrom on long-term injured reserve to clear nearly $7 million in cap space. McPhee acknowledged that that move was more of a preemptive one in case a deal presented itself, but that was obviously not the case.

Speaking of Backstrom, McPhee did not have an update on Backstrom, who has been out since January 3 with a concussion, saying that while he hopes that Backstrom will be able to come back this season, he does not know at this time.

The Caps have 20 games remaining in the regular season and sit in ninth place entering Monday's action. The Caps had Stanley Cup expectations entering the season, but as it comes to a close, McPhee believes that the team as currently constructed can make a run in the playoffs.

"I certainly think we're capable of making the playoffs with this team right now," McPhee said. "If Nicky Backstrom came back, it certainly would improve our chances of being able to win a Cup. We can make the playoffs with this team and if [Backstrom] comes back, we can beat anybody in this conference."

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2012 NHL Trade Deadline Passes, Washington Capitals Stand Pat

The 2012 NHL Trade Deadline has officially passed and the Washington Capitals stood pat, not making any deals to bolster the team for the playoff push.

Rumors have been circulating for weeks regarding several Caps, most notably Mike Knuble and Roman Hamrlik. Yet, at the 3 p.m. EST deadline, both Knuble and Hamrlik are still members of the Washington organization.

The Caps' biggest need was at the center position, particularly a top-six center that can play on the top lines. Over the last week, however, players that could fit that mold - Jeff Carter, Antoine Vermette and Sami Pahlsson to name a few - were shipped elsewhere.

It seemed as though the Caps were primed to make a splash Monday when they put Nicklas Backstrom (concussion) on long-term injured reserve, freeing up nearly $7.6 million of cap space. Instead, Washington did not make a deadline deal for the first time since 2008-09.

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NHL Trade Rumors 2012: Nicklas Backstrom Placed On Long-Term Injury Reserve, Enabling Team To Add Salary At Deadline

Nicklas Backstrom has been dealing with a concussion for quite a while now and on Monday the Capitals made a roster move which should help them acquire more talent before the upcoming NHL Trade Deadline.

According to Chase Hughes of CSN Washington, the deal will enable the Capitals to take on some more salary for the rest of the season, but would still enable Backstrom to return to the ice for the Playoffs.

The deal frees up cap space, around $7 million, the morning of the trade deadline and could be part of a corresponding move. Even if Backstrom is out for the rest of the regular season, he could return for the playoffs if the Capitals make it.

This move seems to indicate that the Capitals are trying to make a move that would add salary to their payroll. There would be no incentive to put him on this list unless they were intending to make a move. This makes the deadline coming up a lot more interesting for Capitals fans.

For more on this injury and all things relating to the Capitals, please head over to Japers' Rink. For more on the trade deadline for every NHL team, you can head over to the SB Nation NHL hub page.

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Roman Hamrlik On Dale Hunter: 'He Should Know Better'

If the rumors are true that Roman Hamrlik is being shopped around to other interested NHL teams with the league's trade deadline four days away, then making him a healthy scratch --as Dale Hunter did in Wednesday night's 5-2 loss to Ottawa--is a hell of a way to goose his value.

However, Hamrlik may have lost whatever ethical high ground he had when he spoke to the media after Thursday's practice.

Via CSN Washington's Chuck Gormley:

"People talk. Media talks," Hamrlik said when asked about a report that he has asked to be traded before Monday's trade deadline. "Nothing I can do about it. I'm happy to be here and do my job. I don't have control over that. I hope I stay here and make the team better and help them make the playoffs. I don't have reason to leave."

Standard boilerplate stuff. Then things got ugly.

Asked if Hunter discussed with him the reasons for being scratched, Hamrlik said. "No, he didn't."

Asked what he thought the reason was, Hamrlik replied, "I don't know. You should ask him."

Hunter said a penalty taken by Hamrlik early in Monday night's 5-0 loss in Carolina was one of the reasons he sent Hamrlik to the press box two nights later in Ottawa.

"You should ask him about the penalties because when he played I think he make lots of penalties himself," Hamrlik said. "He should know better. This is a game and guys (play with) emotion. I know I took a bad penalty, but if that's the reason I didn't play that's his decision."

Apart from Hamrlik's somewhat questionable logic, he does realize that it's generally not a good idea to take this stuff to the media, right? Right?


NHL Trade Deadline: Capitals Defenseman Roman Hamrlik Reportedly Available

Washington Capitals defenseman Roman Hamrlik is available and being shopped around, according to a report from Renaud P. Lavoie of Canadian outlet RDS.

Hamrlik, who signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Caps on the first day of free agency last summer, is in the midst of one of the worst seasons of his almost 20-year career, having just two goals and 10 points in 55 games, though he does have a team-high 119 blocked shots. Hamrlik is apparently unhappy in Washington, according to Lavoie (translated from French via Google Translate):

Roman Hamrlik had enough of Washington and would like to play elsewhere. To be honest, nothing is easy in this team now and it weighs heavily on the shoulders of several players.

Hamrlik has been offered a few teams, but the Capitals are very demanding [in terms of what they want in return for Hamrlik].

Coincidentally, Roman Hamrlik will be a healthy scratch Wednesday when the Caps face the Ottawa Senators.

"You want him to be a defensive defenseman," head coach Dale Hunter said of Hamrlik to reporters Wednesday after the team's morning skate. "He's giving up too many chances, so he's out of the lineup. Giving up too many scoring chances; he took a bad penalty last game, so we're going to put someone else in."

Perhaps one team that could have interest in Hamrlik's services is the St. Louis Blues, which has had team officials at Washington's games recently. As a barometer of what the Caps might expect if they do decide to trade Hamrlik, Hamrlik's former Montreal Canadiens teammate and fellow veteran defenseman Hal Gill was traded to the Nashville Predators February 17 in exchange for a second-round draft pick and two prospects.

The NHL trade deadline is this coming Monday, February 27, at 3 p.m. EST.

UPDATE: Hamrlik's agent, Petr Svboda, has told The Washington Times' Stephen Whyno that he has not yet requested a trade.


Rick Nash Trade Rumors: Capitals Not On Nash's 'Approved List,' According To Report

While Rick Nash has been rumored to be traded by Columbus, there appears to be no chance that he would get traded to the Capitals ahead of the trade deadline according to a tweet from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun via Columbus writer Aaron Portzline.

This comes as no real surprise as the Capitals would probably have to give up a lot of prospects or even some other leaders on this team in order to land Nash. Not only that, landing him would put the Capitals on the hook for a $7.8 million cap hit through the end of the 2018 season. In short, it would cost too much in manpower and dollars to seriously consider trading for him.

Add to that the fact that Evgeny Kuznetsov will more than likely be on the Capitals roster next season, there's no reason to mortgage things to get Nash.


NHL Trade Rumors: Could Mike Knuble Traded By Washington Capitals?

Going by recent comments to CSN Washington, as well as recent scratches by head coach Dale Hunter, is Mike Knuble on the way out?

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