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Posted at 5:48 PM ET, 02/28/2011

Capitals GM George McPhee: 'I'm really happy with what we've acquired'

By Lindsay Applebaum

General Manager George McPhee said he was pleased with the Capitals' trade-deadline acquisitions of center Jason Arnott from New Jersey and defenseman Dennis Wideman from Florida because they address "specific needs" going into the postseason.

"I'm really happy with what we've acquired," McPhee said in a news conference at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. "We've addressed specific needs that we've had and they're all good, experienced, veteran players that we hopefully will assimilate quickly and help us."

Part of the appeal of both Arnott, 36, and Wideman, 27, was that they bring experience to a fairly young Capitals team, McPhee said.

'We've got a young group, as we all know, and we got guys that have been around a long time," McPhee said. "Specifically with Arnott, he's been a captain of an NHL team and he's won a Cup [in 2000] and those kind of intangibles are something that we wanted in the room like we had when we got Sergei Fedorov two years ago."

McPhee also said that what the Capitals gave up -- prospect Jake Hauswirth and this year's third-round draft pick for Wideman, and forward David Steckel and a 2012 second-round draft pick in exchange for Arnott -- leaves Washington in good shape going forward.

"We did not give away our first round pick, we did not give away any of our A-prospects," McPhee said. "We took [Steckel] out of our roster; he's just a great guy and he's done really well for us here and he's become an NHL player, a solid NHL player. But we felt that we had some depth there with Boyd Gordon and Jay Beagle, and if we were going to upgrade the club at another position, this was asking price.

"We do it reluctantly, but it's a decision you have to make in this position sometimes, and as much as you don't want to see a guy go, you know you have to do it to improve your club."

More to come soon.

By Lindsay Applebaum  | February 28, 2011; 5:48 PM ET
Categories:  David Steckel, Dennis Wideman, George McPhee, Jason Arnott  
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Next: McPhee: Mike Green to miss 'a couple of weeks' with head injury

Comments

However, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this where we were at least 2 yrs ago?

Have we now regressed to where the prize is only to get to round 2, if that?

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 28, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

You're 100% correct, and I find it discouraging too.

I think Teddy and GMGM were betting that an offense-only team could win in the New NHL. So they built one ... yadda yadda yadda ... turns out that the New NHL is a lot like the Old NHL when we get to playoff time.

The good news is that the Caps now seem to have a serious pipeline of prospects. The bad news is that nobody in the entire organization knows how to win a playoff series. Fedorov did; maybe they can get him on speaker-phone during intermissions.

Posted by: garbageout | February 28, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

at least he didn't say "we got who we targeted" this time

otoh: "We've addressed specific needs that we've had and they're all good, experienced, veteran players that we hopefully will assimilate quickly and help us."
however - i'm afraid this one will get picked apart

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 28, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

thats pretty cool. Yet another year goes by and once again he gets exactly what he wants and is very satisfied with how everything transpired.

(i know, what else do you expect him to say, right??)

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 28, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

" GMGM" These are the players were we targeting for the last month, they complete our team

Posted by: RichC3 | February 28, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

We did not give away our first round pick, we did not give away any of our A-prospects," McPhee said.
----------------------------------------------------------

I'm not a big Steckel fan but he was a first round pick, wasn't he?

So why is he so hung up on NOT giving up future first round picks?? It's not like he's gonna get it right every time.

Joe Finley was a first round pick and so were Baby Gus and BGordon. The Caps are only gonna have late first round picks.

Posted by: joek443 | February 28, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I just wish he hadn't totally overestimated the club last April (when the Habs robbed us of our deserved series win) and had made some moves last summer.

I'm on the fence, though, so I'll give this a chance.

We ARE better?

Good enough? Doubt it. Better? Yes.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 28, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Great pick ups for the Caps today!! Anyone who is not happy is plan hockey ignorant. This team is far better now with Arnott as well as Wideman... Some say Arnott is old/slow... He isn't fast and he has age, but remember in this Caps system you don't need to be fast. You need to be able to crash the net and get the nasty goals.. Arnott will fill the 2nd role perfectly...

Posted by: CapsBaby | February 28, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

The Caps are only gonna have late first round picks.

Posted by: joek443 | February 28, 2011 6:03 PM

true - but he has an 'in' for selecting russians that everybody else is uneasy taking a shot at with their 1st round pick

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 28, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

If BB will stop juggling lines and pairings, maybe Arnott will get used to playing with Semin and Strum (later Fehr). Now set up a shut-down line with Majo, Laich, and Hendricks. Keep speedy Chim-Chim with Beagle/Gordon and King/Brads for a pure energy line. Let the d pairings gel for goodness sake.

A good day because MP and Sloan are in Hershey where they belong. Stecks is gone, no big loss. He is very good on the faceoff, but after that he is a liability.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | February 28, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

We get a Stanley Cup winning center who goes to the net and leads in the locker room. We get a veteran d-man who can help on the power play. We get another veteran who averages 20 goals a year. And for all that we give up, basically, one guy off a roster that you Whiners complained so much about.

And still you b--tch and moan. Amazing!

As to your absurd comment: "Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this where we were at least 2 yrs ago?"

You stand corrected. We did not have Carlson or Alzner or Hannan or Neuwirth or Marcus Johansson two years ago. Or are you going to say they don't matter either?

Even if the Caps win the Cup, you Whiners will complain that they didn't do it sooner.
The guy who posted that elsewhere on CI deserves a medal.

Posted by: StevefromSacto | February 28, 2011 6:10 PM | Report abuse

...isn't high on my list of things I want to hold onto

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 28, 2011 5:58 PM

thats good to know

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 28, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

new thread

Posted by: wocoliz | February 28, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

at least he didn't say "we got who we targeted" this time

--------

obviously he reads this blog. He knew better, haha

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 28, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

We ARE better?

---------------

we could've just brought up Beagle, dumped MP, stuck Laich at center and we would've been better too.

I'm just being argumentative, nm

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 28, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Even if the Caps win the Cup, you Whiners will complain that they didn't do it sooner.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Like I said earlier at least win a round of playoffs without going the distance before even talking about winning the Cup.

You're whining about the whiners.

Posted by: joek443 | February 28, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"Even if the Caps win the Cup, you Whiners will complain that they didn't do it sooner."

---

And if we bow out in the first round again, you kool-aiders will be the first ones in here to tell everyone why it was OK again using any number of excuses, why all players are great, BB is great, and GMGM is the gest GM in the history...

So, I don't see your point.

People like you add as much to the conversation as the "whiners," I'd watch the height of that horse you're on, the fall could be painful.

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 28, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

"A good day because MP and Sloan are in Hershey where they belong. Stecks is gone, no big loss. He is very good on the faceoff, but after that he is a liability."

Absolutely. I don't see why a lot of people are so hung up on MP85. I for one am glad I don't have to see him bring the puck in the zone for 2 periods a game and get crunched behind the net, lose the puck, and feed an instant offensive chance to the other team.

Posted by: wahoo_Mike | February 28, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to see 'em on the ice Thursday.

Maybe this bunch will put up a fight (i.e., no more Rangers' game like efforts).

Posted by: tslats | February 28, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I just don't think a drastic move like getting Richards would have made us better enough to be worth what we would have had to give up.

We needed another puck moving D man (esp. with Green out and not playing that well) Quite frankly Wideman might have more of an impact on our scorng than the other 2.

Arnott adds a veteran presence and even if he plays 3rd line C and we keep MoJo at 2nd, it is still good.

Sturm will hopefully equate into a Fehr type of player...if not then we didn't give anything up for him and he's cheap.

Ovie/Backs/Knuble
Semin/Arnott/Laich
Sturm/MoJo/Fehr
Chimera/Gordon/Henricks/Bradley

Green/Hannan
Carlson/Alzner
Wideman/schultz/Erskine

It is really not a bad group of players!

Posted by: capscoach | February 28, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute! I have a solution to all this griping. Here's a message to TMAC2YAO, CStanton, and the other consistent whiners on this blog:

Instead of just complaining about how bad the team, the coach and the GM are, please explain to us ignorant folks what YOU would do instead.

Let's have some SPECIFICS, boys and girls. Who would YOU target? Who would YOU trade to get them?

We can learn so much from you. We're sure you can tell us how to get Crosby or Malkin for Steckel, or maybe Tim Thomas for Mathieu Perrault.

Put up or shut up. Now's your chance to shine!

Posted by: StevefromSacto | February 28, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

"Wait a minute! I have a solution to all this griping. Here's a message to TMAC2YAO, CStanton, and the other consistent whiners on this blog:

Instead of just complaining about how bad the team, the coach and the GM are, please explain to us ignorant folks what YOU would do instead."

---

They do that and more all the time, and have all season. I don't know who you are, because I've never seen you on here, but if you want to know what "they" would do, you should search the blog archives.

The "Well what would YOU Do?" line is as tired and useless as the "Well if you are so smart, why aren't YOU a GM?"

You guys need to get a new shtick.

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 28, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Brad Boyes a better option than Arnott ? He was cheaper too.

Posted by: Pierlucll | February 28, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

And what would you do differently, Brother VTDuffman? How would you prevent the Caps from losing in the first round yet again? Inquiring minds want to know.

My point is that it is difficult to take you and your buddies seriously when all you do is complain, demean and ridicule. Having lived through an 8-67-5 season and missing the playoffs for nearly a decade, it's a bit hard to understand how you consider McPhee and Boudreau to be the "worst" GM and Coach ever.

Just because we're willing to wait and see what happens between now and June, just because we think the Caps improved themselves with the trades and pickup this weekend--which is the consensus view of nearly every NHL expert--does NOT make us Kool Aid drinkers.

Posted by: StevefromSacto | February 28, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

"And what would you do differently, Brother VTDuffman? How would you prevent the Caps from losing in the first round yet again? Inquiring minds want to know."

Search the blog archives, it's there.

"it's a bit hard to understand how you consider McPhee and Boudreau to be the "worst" GM and Coach ever."

I never said this. You invented it because it's easier than arguing with what I'm actually saying. It's called a "Strawman" -- google it.

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 28, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey brother Duffman, the blog archives won't tell me why you and your fellow Whiners think that getting Arnott, Wideman and Sturm for Steckel was NOT a good move by George McPhee. It just happened today. So please fill me in on what you would do differently.

Remember the infamous "Whoop-whoop" gang that has ridiculed certain Caps defensemen with that chant through the years? I recall two of the guys that were most picked on: Rick Green (who won a Stanley Cup with Montreal) and Larry Murphy (two Stanley Cup rings and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame). Shows how little the gang really knew about the game.

Maybe you and your friends have started an online "whoop-whoop" gang?

Posted by: StevefromSacto | February 28, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Whoop-whoop!

Rick Green
Kevin Hatcher
Larry Murphy
Sergei Gonchar

Posted by: sca187 | February 28, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

"Hey brother Duffman, the blog archives won't tell me why you and your fellow Whiners think that getting Arnott, Wideman and Sturm for Steckel was NOT a good move by George McPhee. It just happened today. So please fill me in on what you would do differently."

---

If you literally looked in the thread right above this one, you would read my opinion on today's trades and realize it's nothing like what you state. Again, you have an invented an argument that I never made and chose to argue against *that* rather than what I'm saying. Again, it's called a "Strawman" and it's a logical fallacy and it's just lazy as all get out.

If you're interested in talking about what I've actually said, I'm game. But I have no interest in entertaining a discussion with you and an argument you invented in your mind. Get over yourself.

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 28, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so now they really need to just not mess with the lines too much so these guys can actually get used to who they're playing with. I thought the amount they shuffled Hannan around when he came onto the team really increased the amount of time for him to get used to the team. And at the same time they were splitting up Alzner/Carlson for some reason. On a new team with a new system guys need a bit of time to adjust both to their role and to who they're playing with.

Posted by: Stu_c | February 28, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, having been going back and forth with the nattering nabobs of negativism on this site all afternoon, I kind of put you in the backwash. For example, I was wrong about you saying that McPhee and Boudreau were the "worst", although others have. For that I apologize.

I believe in constructive criticism when it is warranted. For example, if the Caps do not advance in the playoffs this Spring, I think that Boudreau should be let go. But right now he is trying to turn what was a run-and-gun team into one with enough defensive responsibilty to contend for the Cup. And that ain't easy.

For that reason, I'm willing to give him until the end of the year. That's the reasonable thing to do.

What frosts me is that anyone who attempts to say anything positive about the team or management is branded as a "Kool Aid drinker."

Posted by: StevefromSacto | February 28, 2011 7:54 PM | Report abuse

whoop whoop scotty!
i like the players the caps got today. we will see what happens.

Posted by: fatdime | February 28, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

GMGM makes no moves, people complain. He makes several good moves, people complain. If some of you guys were such experts at this why aren't you doing this for a living? I feel the Caps are a better team tonight because of what GMGM pulled off today. I'm ready for some hockey. I'd love to be watching the Caps at my Memorial Day weenie roast this spring. Go Caps!

Posted by: pacapsfan | February 28, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Like I said earlier at least win a round of playoffs without going the distance before even talking about winning the Cup.
You're whining about the whiners.
Posted by: joek443 | February 28, 2011 6:18 PM |

Nah - we're whining about the whiteys who still like DC's last century hockey team even though they did squat either for the DMV peeps.

Learn to skate, then you can run a team.

Posted by: Rocc00 | February 28, 2011 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Steve has a point. I mean Arnott has not even played one game for The Caps. Lets give the new guys a chance for Pete's sake. Some of the folks are being negative for the sake of being negative. Come on CStanton you have been fair in the past and so is Joe but you guys lately are all negative all the time. Some of the criticism is spot on but I think these are decent pick ups not great. We gave up almost nothing and we will see. I am real excited for tomorrow assuming they play.

Posted by: pkme | February 28, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse

What up fatty? I think GMGM did what he could without giving up much. Yes we will see how it pans out... All I know is that this team needed a shake-up...

Posted by: sca187 | February 28, 2011 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I think the addition of Arnott alone will help tremendously with the leadership issue on and off the ice. If he can lead in the way Knuble does (and Feds did), I think we're a much better team. If he can bring it like he did back in the day, that will be a huge bonus.

Posted by: sca187 | February 28, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

For all of you 'but you haven't won a Cup' crowd, just remember that Montreal hasn't won a Cup in 20 years, Boston hasn't won a Cup since 1972 and the Leafs haven't won since 1967.

There are a LOT of fans out there who have been waiting as long or longer for a championship than the bunch here but they aren't belly-aching about it every season as if it's do or die.

A team CAN win its division, go to the postseason and advance to a conference final and consider it a successful season.

At some point you have to cash in and win a title, but that process sometimes results in a Cup victory sandwiched in between a string of seasons making the postseason and building momentum.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 28, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

"A team CAN win its division, go to the postseason and advance to a conference final and consider it a successful season."

---

I would consider that a successful season. All I ask is improvement. They don't have to win a cup this year, but another first round bow out and people should be fired.

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 28, 2011 9:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you on that. I ask for improvement...and I expect it.
Another first round bow out and heads should roll. But I think that they are heading in the right direction to keep that from happening. We'll see, eh?

Posted by: StevefromSacto | February 28, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Put me down as a naturally cynical person who is very happy with what happened today.

Hard to say how far it will take us, but GMGM did not sacrifice much of the future to get these parts - and they are relevant parts.

I would like to think we are MUCH better positioned than yesterday.

How far that takes us? I have no idea.

But, I would put this trade deadline much closer to the Feds/Huet/Cooke trade deadline than the Corvo/Walker/ Belanger/Jurcina deadline.

Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: CF11555 | February 28, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Well, what do you know, GMGM did exactly what most of us who know nothing about the game wanted him to do. We'll see how this works out. I have zero expectations for a deep playoff run this year -- before the trade and now. But I'm hopefull that the guys can learn some important lessons from Arnott. Stanley Cup championship experience matters. Arnott's history, size and style can only help our guys.

Posted by: fanzee71 | February 28, 2011 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I go to several WP blogs regularly as I am a fan of the Capitals, the Redskins, DC United, the Orioles, and the Wizards. While just about every team I follow has had an extended term of success, only the Capitals are currently winners. However, you would never know it by reading the posts on this blog. I understand the frustration of being a Caps fan as I date all the way back to the beginning. However, a little perspective is needed at times.

The organization is rock solid. The Capitals have one of the most respected owners in all of sports not just hockey. Their farm system is rated as the 5th best in hockey and Bruce Boudreau is one of the most successful coaches in the sport since his arrival. The sky is not falling. Do we need postseason success, of course we do but please keep perspective. This team has only been to the playoffs three times. A laundry list of all time greats in sports did not win a championship by their fifth to tenth postseason let alone the third. Rock the Red!!!!!

Posted by: croftonpost | March 1, 2011 12:46 AM | Report abuse

I go to several WP blogs regularly as I am a fan of the Capitals, the Redskins, DC United, the Orioles, and the Wizards. While just about every team I follow has had an extended term of success, only the Capitals are currently winners. However, you would never know it by reading the posts on this blog. I understand the frustration of being a Caps fan as I date all the way back to the beginning. However, a little perspective is needed at times.

The organization is rock solid. The Capitals have one of the most respected owners in all of sports not just hockey. Their farm system is rated as the 5th best in hockey and Bruce Boudreau is one of the most successful coaches in the sport since his arrival. The sky is not falling. Do we need postseason success, of course we do but please keep perspective. This team has only been to the playoffs three times. A laundry list of all time greats in sports did not win a championship by their fifth to tenth postseason let alone the third. Rock the Red!!!!!

Posted by: croftonpost | March 1, 2011 12:47 AM | Report abuse

@croftonpost

I agree with your post.

It is absolutely hilarious to read all of these armchair GM comments.

I quit coming here a long time ago due to the negativity as well as the idiocy. I still see it is in full swing.

While one or two posters here are guys that know what they are talking about and would be great to have a beer with, the majority are just asshats.

Posted by: Snowdog | March 1, 2011 2:35 AM | Report abuse

@croftonpost,
While I am not as far over on the critical side as some here there is something to consider. The team has seriously regressed since last year. Even worse the teams top performers have been marginal in the playoffs these past 3 years. Guys like Cstanston know the sport well enough to understand how drastically different playoff hockey is versus the regular season. It is not O or D that wins a Cup. It is tougness and grit. It is a Pronger- not an Erskine. The Caps are the Ottawa Senators of this decade. Too soft for the playoffs. They lack that guy you love to hate with gut full of gravel. Now they seem built to win a title in a no checking league. How many playoff series does Hal Gill (2 and counting right?) have to manhandle Ovie till he is crying in the coner trying to go to the happy place for management to see that the Caps are Don Cherry's worse nightmare?

Posted by: CapsDK | March 1, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

@ pierlucII-----
couldn't agree more. Boyes was someone you would have thought to bring in for the next couple of years, not just a loaner.

What's going to happen if Laich wants upwards of $4 mil/year? Let him walk, er skate? Tough call.

Posted by: erico31us | March 1, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Steckel really is a great guy. He's also a type of guy that the Caps need more of. He shows up to practice and play everyday and works his tail off while taking nothing for granted. So far, the best part of the deal is that Steckel is going to one of the truly great NHL organizations where they have a helluva GM and coach. Yes, the devs struggled for most of this season but they appear to have turned it around. Hopefully Steckel contributes to the continued success this year and in the future. If I were a betting man, I'd say he gets to a cup first before any of his former teammates that stay in this city.

Posted by: CalleJoFan | March 1, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

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