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Posted at 10:26 AM ET, 03/ 4/2011

McPhee says Dennis Wideman trade was 'out of the blue'

By Lindsay Applebaum

Capitals General Manager George McPhee said he wasn't planning on making a deal with Florida for puck-moving defenseman Dennis Wideman, but he jumped at the opportunity when it arose at the trade deadline.

"That one came out of the blue," McPhee said during an appearance yesterday on ESPN 980's The Sports Reporters. "I listened to their GM [Dale Tallon] talk to the media the other day and he said exactly the same thing. It was they hadn't planned on trading him, it came out of the blue, it was a good fit, it worked and they saved some money. We get a good player, a real good player."

McPhee also talked about his hopes for the Capitals' defensive corps -- particularly if and when Mike Green (head) and Tom Poti (groin) get healthy.

"With Wideman in there and [John] Carlson in there, and if we get Green back and Poti back, boy, it's probably one of the better bluelines in the league," McPhee said. "But I think Green will be back and we've got our fingers crossed on Poti."

What do you think of Washington's current group of defensemen, with and without Green and Poti?

(Practice starts at 11 a.m. Stay tuned for updates from Greg Schimmel, who's out at Kettler Capitals Iceplex today.)

By Lindsay Applebaum  | March 4, 2011; 10:26 AM ET
Categories:  Dennis Wideman, George McPhee, Mike Green, Tom Poti  
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Those guys are all skilled but the Caps will hardly have one of the best defenses in the league because they lack toughness in a big way. They need a banger who is more skilled than Erskine. McPHee is blowing smoke.

Posted by: poguesmahone | March 4, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Wideman is willing to play more physical then some of the shut down D-men which is a very nice bonus. I think this is the deepest blueline the Caps have had since McPhee took over when Green is back. If Green cannot come back the Wideman deal was even more huge.

Poti, at this point, is not needed if the team is healthy. Other then a depth player.

Posted by: Mike4169 | March 4, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Other than Sloan, the other D are all solid. Sure, this thread will degenerate into how Schultz sucks because he doesn't hit enough, and Erskine sucks because he's slow, but that's a style thing. You don't have to be a banger or a speedster to be a good defenceman. A few are prone to the odd gaff, but some combination of Green, Carlzner, and Poti/Schultz/Orlov/Wideman next year will be pretty studly

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 4, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I really like Wideman, can't wait to see him and Green on the PP. Sloppy puck handling, but hard skating. Sturm looks a little fragile......

I don't believe the Ameritel Triplets are either related or triplets.

Posted by: guruvinny | March 3, 2011 9:52 PM


I think you may be wrong about that. Regardless, there's something about family-owned businesses running TV ads that showcase thier absurdly large number of children (Ted Britt Ford being another example) that just creeps me out.

Also, while I'm on the subject of commercials, IMO the best BB ad was the Mercedes ad where the two salesmen are wrestling over who gets to take BB out for a test drive, and BB says: "they're pretty passionate about their jobs, eh?". The other one ("cupholder") should be taken of the air ASAP--it's a jinx. Dump the rest too--they're just silly and degrading. I say whether BB stays or not, give the man back his dignity!

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 4, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

One of the best defenses in the league with Tom fricking Poti?? I think not.

Posted by: PhilR | March 4, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I disagree - they finally have a full NHL defensive corp. Carlson looks tired, but they no longer have to rely on players like Sloan. Wideman has been great, and it is hard to discount the leadership of a vet like that.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 4, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

crap now I've got to listen to the sports reporters

Posted by: theskinnypost | March 4, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I think Carlson could use about a week off to rest. He seems to have hit the rookie wall. That can sometimes be more mental than physical.

Basically, it looks like the guy could use a vacation to the Carribean for a long weekend and then come back feeling refreshed. On that note, I think I can also use a vacation to the Carribean to refresh myself.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 4, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Trying not to over-react to 2 (now) games, but this game clearly illustrated to me again what is illustrated against the Isles:

The play of Jason Arnott is demonstrating the importance of a true, veteran 2C - what a gaping hole we have had in that position all year, and just how big of a gaffe *not* addressing this position last off-season on the part of GMGM. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he addressed it *now*, it just would have been better had he addressed it *then*.

Imagine if we had a "Jason Arnott" (if not necessarily *the* Jason Arnott, but the same type of player) on this team to start the season.

I think things might have unfolded very differently.

As an aside, I think that Sasha needs a "Dad" figure on the team to keep him in line. :)

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 4, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

One of the best defenses in the league with Tom fricking Poti?? I think not.

Posted by: PhilR | March 4, 2011 10:35 AM


And, as McPhee is saying this, he's pouring a glass of Kool Aid (into plastic smiley mug) for the reporter. You'll have to see if Lindsay left the interview with a red moustache.

BTW, since this is ALL THEY EVER CALL HIM, he should get a business card made up:

Dennis Wideman
Puck-Moving Defenseman #6
Washington Capitals

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

GMGM couldn't have addressed the 2nd line center position at the beginning of the season without giving up current players on the team because of salary cap restraints. By waiting until the end of the season GMGM was able to fit more salary in(in terms of $/yr). In addition, sometimes a veteran coming in late in the season can give a team a jump as it is a new voice in the locker room.

IMO, I think GMGM handled the acquisiting of a 2nd line center very well. By doing so, the Caps were also able to get MJ much more seasoning with a lot of play as a 2nd line center. That will only help him come playoff time and for the years to come.

Good work GMGM!

In all honesty, it is only 2 games. While the trades definitely look promising, lets wait and see how things play out.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 4, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Agreed that McPhee is blowing a lot of smoke here. There are now too many skilled offensive defenseman but still no solid shutdown pair or even dominant shutdown player.

@guruvinny and Rhino,

Speaking of commercials: Who is in charge of marketing for Hadeed Carpets? They need to remove Joe Hadeed (or whatever his name is) from all air-time. That guy and his Vinny Cerrato-like wide eyes is creepy as hell.

Posted by: CalleJoFan | March 4, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Dennis should be used to it though. His dad always called him, "My lawnmower pushing and trash can moving son." His wife calls him, "My furniture moving husband." Had he joined the army the sergeant would have called him the "BAR toting buck private."

Move that puck, Dennis.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

@ Tom, The guys with 4 Stars should only be making decisions to use weapons with the OK of the pols, which is yet another brood of vipers to address...
To use or not to use, that is the question, whether tis better to use the slings and arrows to the blast yon enemies into their own outrageous fortunes, to make them into the quienessence of dust

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | March 4, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

In other news, I'm happy to report that David Steckel seems to be doing well in New Jersey. Jacques Lemaire has been praising him a lot.

It is very sad that there was not one single post on this blog with quotes from Stecks or his teammates paying him tribute on his way out. I've had to go read the Jersey papers to hear from him. The Jersey papers, people! I thought this was the Washington Post...

Posted by: CalleJoFan | March 4, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

sgm: Good point, but you've been the sipping the Kool Aid too, haven't you?

Go back and read what we posted all summer. We ALL said to sign someone, anyone, you had John Madden, to give depth at C. We ALL said to move Flash to balance the team. We ALL cringed when he re-upped Poti.

Next year this time you will be telling us he couldn't do this or that due to cap space and I will remind you that on 3/4/11 at 8:05 PDT I told you that had he not re-signed Poti...

It's never an excuse that you can't do the right thing because earlier you did the wrong thing.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

As long as John Erskine and Tyler Sloan aren't getting ice time, I'm very happy with our blueline.

Posted by: CapsNut | March 4, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Fun game last night for sure. I was a little worried that my boy hurt his hand. He took a good whack and had his glove off and was hunched over holding it. Then of course he later made that amazing pass. Great game for him.

Im almost getting to that point where the other team scores first or goes up by a goal...Im not worried.

Oops, I slipped off my fence post there. Let me just hop back up there real quick. Ahh, better.

P.S. I miss Snoopy. Hmm, speaking of Snoopy, how fitting is it that his alter ego in the cartoon was the Red Baron. Coincidence??? I think NOT.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | March 4, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"GMGM couldn't have addressed the 2nd line center position at the beginning of the season without giving up current players on the team because of salary cap restraints. By waiting until the end of the season GMGM was able to fit more salary in(in terms of $/yr). In addition, sometimes a veteran coming in late in the season can give a team a jump as it is a new voice in the locker room."


I don't know why I even bother responding to you anymore, but...

You're actually praising GMGM for *not* addressing our glaring hole at 2C in the off-season, and are pretending like he did this on purpose as some sort of plan?

Come on.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 4, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Did the math and here is everyone on the teams even strength goals against per 60 minutes.
Player GA/60Min
Andrew Gordon 4.23
DJ King 3.90
Tom Poti 3.36
Brian Fahey 3.12
Jason Chimera 3.09
Marco Sturm 2.86
Tyler Sloan 2.85
Marcus Johansson 2.76
Mathieu Perreault 2.64
Matt Hendricks 2.48
John Erskine 2.44
Matt Bradley 2.42
Alex Ovechkin 2.31
Boyd Gordon 2.28
Jeff Schultz 2.28
David Steckel 2.26
John Carlson 2.25
Alexander Semin 2.23
Scott Hannan 2.15
Mike Green 2.13
Nicklas Backstrom 2.10
Mike Knuble 2.07
Eric Fehr 2.03
Karl Alzner 1.90
Brooks Laich 1.85
Tomas Fleischmann 1.78
Dennis Wideman 1.62
Jay Beagle 1.41
Jason Arnott 0.00
Keith Aucoin 0.00

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 4, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I am very optimistic about all three new Caps. They all seem to bring a needed element to the ice and the locker room. I particularly liked Jason Arnott's comments after the game on Tuesday, and I also noticed that he seemed to be giving advice/direction from the bench to his teammates last night during the game. Much has been made of his veteran status. However, both Knuble and Hannan are veterans. Why haven't they been able to light a fire under their younger teammates? Is it because Arnott was a Captain? Because he has a premiere player? Because he is coming in new and has nothing to lose?

Posted by: ksr17 | March 4, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

sgm3 has been preaching the getting a 2C at the trade deadline all year, so props for consistency

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | March 4, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Tomin, did you just reference the Browning Automatic Rifle? Goodness - I hope PFC Wideman woulda had the pig, or at least the SAW . . .

(And could I be any more off-thread? Apologies all.)

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 4, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

JIMALLCAPS: I just count em, and every week the paycheck goes into Bank of America. I better log on there and make sure it got deposited. You know the game.

sgm: And one more thing (picture me as Columbo here), long about July 1st McPhee will say some words that will bother both you and I and many others here.

"I just couldn't fit the player's demands into the payroll for next year."

Yes, he will be talking about Scott Hannan, the guy who is doing our best job on D now and they guy teaching Alzner. Part of the reason he won't bring back Hannan is bringing in Wideman, but his unexplained love for Poti is the other. OK, a beter move, my move, to trade Poti, but even Mr. Phelps couldn't get that done.

"You mission, should you choose to accept it..."

"Make sure Poti gets dealt? No. No! No, I DON'T accept it! To he11 with them on this one!"

The other option is to move Schultz. Otherwise we have 3, 4, 6, 23, 27, 74, 55, 52 and 89.

"We just couln't fit the player in."


Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

This will probably result in Erskine being the odd man out under BB's system. That would be a huge shame since Erskine has really picked up his game. He's the only D Man willing to do the dirty work required, intimidate forwards and the only enforcer regularly dressed on the team.

Posted by: FLDave | March 4, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse


Why did you do the math on that? Dear God.

They have this thing called the internet now, you should check it out...


Posted by: VTDuffman | March 4, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

stevie: I still watch Combat! Not up to speed with the new stuff.

ksr17: I've knocked BB as much as anyone, but I really like the way he padded Jason on the shoulder after the goal and then stood proudly behind him. BB had his chest puffed out and it looked like his jacket buttons were going to pop off he was so proud.

sgm: You are probably trying to formulate a response, but on this one I might suggest, "Tom, you're right."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

And, of course, Vic Morrow died very near where you now live, right?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 4, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm a big Erskine fan, I think he's playing MUCH better this season and has overall been pretty solid. Also he adds much needed toughness to a team that needs it. I feel like he's been caught pinching a little too much this season resulting in odd man rushes and sometimes goals. If he could be paired with Wideman or Poti and let him focus more on the Defensive zone he'd be in great shape. Pretty much the same for Schultz, when in doubt start skating out of the offensive zone and leave the pinching to more fleet footed d-men.

Posted by: theshawn | March 4, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

@VT. What I really did is just copy the ESTOI and GA/PPGA numbers into excel and put in formulas. I should have found the stats on the web because I forgot to take out short handed goals against which is why my numbers are different.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 4, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

stevie: Didn't know that. Where exactly did he die? I live not far from Vasquez Rocks SP, they make lots of movies there incl the famous Star Trek with the Gorn.

And I'm telling everyone out there, McPhee gets ABSOLUTELY NO MERCY if he doesn't bring back Hannan. It will be his fault and his fault alone.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@VT, the other thing is I wanted just thier numbers as Caps and that site has their whole season not just their on Caps numbers.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 4, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse


I just discovered behind the net the other day, and I love it. I was just trying to spread the gospel. I used to calculate states "by hand" (excel) too :)

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 4, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse


I was a proponent for signing Madden. However, looking back at it, if I had the choice of signing Madden in the offseason and having him play all season with the Caps and thus the Caps not having nearly as much cap room at the deadline to make trades, or the Caps doing what they did. I would choose the route they took.

First, you can't underestimate the value the Caps gained by allowing MJ all the playing time he received. That will definitely speed up his development and will likely make him a more valuable player in this year's playoffs as MJ has had a lot of experience going against top 4 D and now will be playing against the opposing teams 3rd pair for most of the time.

I definitely think that played into GMGMs decision. True, if the Caps had a #2 center all season their record would be a little bit better. But is that that big of a deal if the Caps finish anywhere from 1-5. The NHL playoffs have shown it to not be that big of a deal.

Second, I really like adding a player at the deadline because you can get a better player (based on salary at least) than you could have at the beginning of the season. Yes, you lose the benefit of having the center for all of the season, but you get the benefit of having a better player for the end of the season and the playoffs. Since the Caps are in solid playoff position, I prefer choice two.

The Poti resigning was not a good move by GMGM. There was no need for him to make that move at the time he made it. I will say the same thing about Erskine as well.

Poti has had bad injury trouble, but when healthy he is not nearly as bad as some posters on here make him out to be. He is the fall guy for many posters on here, and as such will always receive more criticism than he deserves. When healthy, he is a solid defenseman, and he definitely showed up last year in the playoffs(unlike many other of the D).

Posted by: sgm3 | March 4, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

@callejofan: Yes, the lack of a good-bye interview was a pretty annoying lapse in coverage. Had to go read the NJ paper to see his reaction to the trade.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 4, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse


On a set outside Santa Clarita.

(To be fair, while I know of Morrow's death when a helo fell on him [!!] and two child actors, I didn't know that he was the star of "Combat!." I'm old-ish, but not quite that old.)

Looking up the exact loc.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 4, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

stevie: I looked up wikipedia and it says between Santa Clarita and Piru. If I drive across town ten miles I get on 126 and head to Ventura. Piru is about 8 miles down the 45 mile trip. Been to Piru Lake. If you get an exact locale, maybe I will check it, but I'd feel strange going to a death site.

sgm: Face it, though, he got a little lucky with Arnott (whose to say with another few wins NJ doesn't trade). It's not like George said back in July, "We'll suffer along. I can always get Arnott at 5 of 3 on the deadline."

Waiting for the deadline (see: 2010) is very risky.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, it appears to have been in the river bed just southwest (a few miles, at most) of the 126/5 intersection, just parallel to 126. A lot closer to Santa Clarita than Piru.

(Full disclosure: closest I've ever been is driving the Angeles Natl. Forest roads on my way from LA to Palmdale/Edwards - just good with the internet and maps.)

Yeah, pretty morbid stuff, but it's a famous helo accident so, I'm a little more curious - and familiar - than your average cat.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 4, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

stevie: Must be the Santa Clara River. Starts a few miles up from where I'm at (just off California 14 exit 11) and runs dry most of the way (unless like now after heavy rain) until it gets closer to Ventura. The whole valley there produces a lot of fruits and stuff and Santa Clarita is having to spend millions for desalinization plants or something for the river. I doubt they will be doing anymore filming like that there.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

@Lindsey - I think a phenomenal group, actually: Green, Wideman, Carlson as puck movers alone makes it pretty strong. Then four proven NHL'ers in Schultz, Hannan, Alzner, and Erskine is not bad.

This team has a serious shot at going very deep. The D is MUCH quicker than it was last year and slow foot speed was a big problem against the Habs last year...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 4, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Schultz, Poti and Erskine take a lot of crap on this site. I have always defended Poti because subjectively from watching the games, I thought he was solid. But that GAA/60 number is a nightmare. Maybe he was playing hurt. But, if you are playing hurt w/ that number, DON'T! I would guess his career numbers are much better than that.

Notice that Erskine, Schultz and Semin all had excellent numbers. Really hard to be a lousy defensive player and have those number.

I see no objective reason to discount Schutlz or Erskine's value as legit top 6 blueliners. They have very different strengths but I'm happy to have both.

I think blue line is very strong right now and even more so when Green comes back.

Posted by: Avar | March 4, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I believe the Verizon center is starting to get a good vibe going. The season has begun and hopefully our game will begin to peak in about a month. Steady progress is what the doctor ordered for now.

Lets go CAPS!

Posted by: DCSportsfanatic1 | March 4, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

i think wideman has played the best defense on the team since he arrived and he also clearly knows what the hell he's doing on the PP, along with Arnott. Those two guys alone I think are going to raise our PP %. If OV can handle the puck without falling on his ass and we figure out how to effectively move the puck on PP we are back to a top PP, especially when green comes back. Imagine both Green and Wideman back at the blueline.... legitimate scoring threat from all 5 guys on the ice.

Posted by: royhperkins | March 4, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

New additions are gelling nicely. We'll see how it looks in 10 games but hopefully we will get into a rhythm and start to peak at the right time. Monday night (Tampa) should be a good game.

I really like the way Wideman has come in - like his energy, hope it lasts.

Poti and Shultz can both go. GMGM resigning Poti was frankly mind-boggling. Shultz got way to much praise for his +/- last year. He is average on his best day...

Posted by: rskinsfan | March 4, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Way too many odd man rushes last night, if not for Neuvy - they would have put a few more on us. A long way to go on D. But I DO like how we can shut-down teams at the end of games, and the PK is still top 5 in the league. Big improvement.

Posted by: gs12 | March 4, 2011 6:47 PM | Report abuse

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