After the Washington Capitals lost in seven games to the Pittsburgh Penguins — their ninth playoff series loss in 10 tries against the Pens — the normal end-of-season routines followed. The Caps held their breakdown day two days later at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and Barry Trotz spoke to the press after the players concluded their sessions.
But one thing is different this year than last: general manager Brian MacLellan has not spoken to the media and there’s still no definitive time table on when that will happen. The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan gave an update this afternoon.
On GM MacLellan meeting w/ media: He’s doing a “thorough evaluation” of the team, so no definitive date set. Target is sometime this month.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) May 15, 2017
Last season, MacLellan spoke on May 16, two days after the Capitals held breakdown day and six days after the team’s Game Six loss to the Penguins.
The lack of an immediate presser suggests the organization is formulating a plan and could signal a big change moving forward with the direction of the franchise, including the removal of head coach Barry Trotz.
In the days that followed the Capitals’ second round loss, there was debate in the media about trading Alex Ovechkin, who has four years and $40 million remaining on his original 13-year contract. Other Caps players on breakdown day suggested that this iteration of the Capitals has reached its apex.
Matt Niskanen on what needs to change: “That’s the million-dollar question, ain’t it? I don’t have a good answer for you.”
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) May 12, 2017
Niskanen: “I don’t know if minor cosmetic changes are gonna change anything, really. It’s pretty clear that this group didn’t get it done.”
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) May 12, 2017
By not speaking, MacLellan has not given a vote of confidence to Trotz since the team’s loss. Several members of Trotz’s staff could also land elsewhere as the Capitals boast some of the most respected assistant coaches in the league.
“Right now, I can’t really answer that,” Trotz said on breakdown day when asked about the future of his assistants.
“The coaching staff is integral, especially for me and the players,” Trotz said. “We got some good people. I’m hoping, just like anything, you never want to hold anybody back as a staff member. If they get an opportunity, I think they got to go for it. It’ll be up to me or Mac or whoever to find a great replacement. I think I got three capable guys that can be on a bench and do a great job for a team.”
Last week, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote a blog post addressing the future of the team and lamenting the latest heartbreaking loss to Caps fans.
“Our team definitely will look different next year due to expiring contracts and salary cap limits,” Leonsis wrote. “At this point I don’t know what the team makeup will be, but our goal is to retain and acquire players who will help us to advance in the playoffs and win a championship in 2018.”
Leonsis’s focus on the players suggests a change in management or potentially behind the bench is unlikely, but as of now, nothing, even a simple presser, is certain anymore.
Brian MacLellan’s current whereabouts pic.twitter.com/IhN1nXNoqP
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) May 15, 2017
Additional reporting by Chris Gordon.
Headline photo: Patrick Smith
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.