Photo: Derek Leung
Eric Fehr and Mike Green both wanted to stay in Washington and win a Stanley Cup — it just didn’t work out that way. They had played their entire 10-year careers with the Caps, save for one year Fehr spent with the Jets. But with restricted free agents like Braden Holtby, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Marcus Johansson to lock up, plus the offseason acquisitions of Justin Williams and TJ Oshie, Fehr knew it would be tough to stay.
“I really enjoy playing here,” Fehr said on breakdown day last year after the Capitals lost to the Rangers in the second round. “Obviously I have a lot of friends here and I’ve been here for a lot of years. I think this is a special group. Obviously I’d love to be back here. Looking at the amount of guys we have unsigned right now, you just don’t know what’s going to happen. Obviously that’s going to sort itself out down the road. I love being in Washington, I love this city, so we’ll see what happens.”
What happened? Fehr signed a three-year, $6 million deal with the rival Pittsburgh Penguins, the team he famously scored two goals against in the 2011 Winter Classic. Injury prone, Fehr played only 55 games for the Pens this year. His regular-season goal total dropped from 19 to six while his point production declined from 33 to 14. Nevertheless, Fehr is healthy now. He scored the opening goal in Pittsburgh’s 5-0 drubbing of the Rangers in Game Four that signaled the end of New York’s season.
After beating the Rangers, Fehr will now get a chance at the Caps when their second round series starts later this week. According to an article on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Fehr remains in “regular contact” with “lots of guys” on the Capitals roster. Like texting your ex and then meeting her new boyfriend, things are about to get a little bit awkward.
“We might have to put the phones away in the next round,” Fehr told the Post-Gazette. “It’s different. Anytime you’re playing against your old friends, it’s a little bit different.”
But Fehr, it seems, has moved on from the breakup. That doesn’t make us sad at all. We tell people the same thing. After all, it was mutual.
“I think enough time has passed in a year that I’ve really felt I fit in with this group,” Fehr said. “[N]ow I feel like I’m a Penguin and I’m very happy moving forward.”
So are we, Fehrsie. We’re young and free and there’s definitely not a hole in our middle-six.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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