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Update on Nylander and Other Items of Interest

Before I went to watch Alex Ovechkin play poker this afternoon (more on that later) I caught up with GM George McPhee and asked him about Michael Nylander's status with the Caps for next season.

McPhee stopped short of dismissing recent reports that the veteran center is attempting to negotiate a deal to join a KHL team, but he did say that he believes it's unlikely Nylander will end up in Russia next season.

"If he wants to go he can, if it's a mutual arrangement," McPhee said of Nylander, who fell out of favor with Coach Bruce Boudreau last season and hardly played in the postseason. "There's nothing to stop a player if he's agreeable and the club is agreeable. What's going to stop him? If he agrees and they agree, we assign him" to the KHL.

Nylander has two years and $8.5 million remaining on his contract with the Caps.

Asked if he expects Nylander to play in Russia, McPhee said: "Probably not."

I also asked McPhee about a few other issues facing the Caps, namely the status of pending UFAs Sergei Fedorov, Donald Brashear and the assistant coaching vacancy. Here's what he told me:

McPhee declined to discuss in depth the contract negotiations of Fedorov and Brashear, saying he will know more as July 1 draws closer. Both Fedorov and his agent Pat Brisson are in Las Vegas, but McPhee said he does not have any scheduled talks with them.

"Sounds like he's been leaning toward Russia for a month," McPhee quipped when asked whether he expects Fedorov to sign with a KHL team. "We'll see."

McPhee also said that he has not started the interview process for the assistant coaching position that was vacated when the team parted ways with Jay Leach. That, McPhee said, will become a focus of his after the draft later this month.

Check the blog later for a short story I wrote for tomorrow's paper about Ovechkin's experience during an NHL-sponsored Texas hold 'em tournament for charity. Ovechkin held his own against Eddie Olczyk, Jeremy Roenick, Mats Sundin and pro poker player Dennis Phillips. The Caps winger even won a few hands before bowing out after going all-in on three consecutive hands. Looked to me like Ovechkin simply was too tired to keep playing after an 18-hour flight from Moscow, a jam-packed schedule the past 48 hours here in Vegas and very little sleep.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  June 17, 2009; 9:03 PM ET
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Next: Ovechkin Hoping for Some Hardware


Finally!! A new picture!

Posted by: JohnWWW | June 17, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

McPhee: "Check".

Posted by: SuperG5 | June 17, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Looks like we have to get Cheney to waterboard McPhee to get some useful information out of him. Some update...

Posted by: Andoy | June 17, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Let's be realistic. It's proper business practice to not divulge whatever discussions are going on behind closed doors regarding contracting negotiations while nothing has been finalized. If it were the opposite, the NHL would profit big time by televising the contract negotiations. *rolls eyes*

McPhee said the right non-answers to the questions.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | June 18, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Wish we had a more proactive GM.

Posted by: Hatfield223 | June 18, 2009 3:11 AM | Report abuse

I wish the KHL would take Nylander!

Posted by: NatyBG | June 18, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Quit your whining everyone! Nylander is as good as gone on July 1. A deal is already in the works, just waiting until free agency starts because the player the Caps are getting is pending UFA. You heard it here first.

Posted by: jwash4472 | June 18, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

very insightful GMGM. deep down, I still think he is a weak link in the success of this team. sign Brash!!!!

Posted by: doughless | June 18, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

George McPhee built this team and here some want to get rid of him. Speaking of poker, I would like to play folks you that want George gone. You folks would probably discard a full house in an attempt to get 4 of a kind.

Posted by: chopin224 | June 18, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Yep re-sign Brash already!!!

Posted by: capsfan01 | June 18, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Nylander needs to go....NOW!

Posted by: FancyDan | June 18, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The Nylander signing was easily the Caps worst move in the past 3 years, and that is saying something because McPhee has been hitting on all cylinders with his draft picks and other trades.

Nylander at 34 was just not worth a 4 year contract.

If he only had a single season left on his deal perhaps Washington could find a trade partner. But with two years remaining the Caps are stuck with him unless he can work out a deal to go to the KHL and reunite with Jaromir Jagr.

If Nylander had approached being the player in 2009 that he was in 2006 for the Rangers scoring 83 points, you can make the argument his presence may have been enough to get the Caps over the hump against the Penguins.

Posted by: leopard09 | June 18, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

shh..McPhee never makes mistakes didntcha know!

I love McPhee's interviews. They're as useful to a fan as Nylander is to the Caps.

Posted by: cstanton1 | June 18, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Bye Bye Circles.

Posted by: whiteltng | June 18, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

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