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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