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George McPhee Speaks (Briefly)

After yesterday's practice, a few media types caught up with GM George McPhee for an unscheduled (and very brief) interview. But since you don't hear from him every day, I wanted to share his comments.

Q: The salary cap has made it hard to pull off trades, but if you look at the standings, outside of Detroit, it seems to have achieved a lot of parity.
A: "That may not be a bad thing. There are a lot of reasons for that. The three-point system also keeps things a little tighter. So when you have those two things working together, it keeps everyone in the hunt. As tough a start as we had, we're another good week away from being right back in it."

"We've payed well. We keep stringing good weeks together, hopefully by the midpoint of the season, by the 40 game mark, we're there, in the hunt."

(Despite their recent surge, The Caps remain at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings heading into tonight's game against Montreal and the Canadien's second-ranked PP unit.)

Q: A few players said getting three out of four points on the road [in Tampa and Detroit] was only huge if the team came out and won these couple of games [vs. Canadiens and Islanders] heading into the [Christmas] break. Agree?
A: "If we want to be a good team we have to keep winning. We had a lot of disappointed players after that Buffalo game because that was a winnable game. But then they came out and played better the next night [against the Lightning] and even better the next night [against the Red Wings]. If we want to keep winning, we have to keep playing well."

Q: What have you thought of the team's play under Boudreau?
A: "We're playing the way we thought we could at the start of the year. We thought we could be a competitive club, an above .500 team and compete for one of the last spots in the playoffs and they're playing that way now."

Q: You've got some veterans on this team and you brought in a coach from the AHL. Some of the veterans could have questioned that move, right?
A: "When you have the right veterans, it's not a problem. When Bruce called out Pothier and Olie for mistakes in N.J., they could have made life difficult for him and the team if that's what they wanted."

"But they didn't. They admitted they made mistakes. They were man enough to do that, and that sent the right message to the coach and the rest of the team."

Note: I won't be able to update often today because I've got a dental appointment. This could be a long -- and painful -- visit. In fact, I'm just hoping to avoid being a medical scratch for tonight's game.

Note: And just in case you missed it yesterday, I want to steer you toward the DC Sports Bog. I know many have already read "Ovechkin on a Segway", but I didn't want to take any chances. It's easliy the funniest hockey-related thing I've read all season. Steinberg has also promised video. Can't wait.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 20, 2007; 8:22 AM ET
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Next: Pothier Out With a Broken Thumb

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