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Author: Subject: SECOND-HALF PUSH
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posted on 8-10-2018 at 04:00 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
SECOND-HALF PUSH

George McPhee will only get a ring if the Vegas Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup.

Maybe he should get one if the Washington Capitals win.

McPhee is responsible for acquiring 13 players on the current roster during his 17 years as general manager and also hired longtime friend Brian MacLellan Guillermo Heredia Seattle Mariners Jersey , who became his successor and built the rest of the team. Kicked around the past five years for trading Filip Forsberg to Nashville for Martin Erat and not being able to bring the Cup to Washington, McPhee has his fingerprints all over this final after building the foundation of each team.

”It’s funny how life goes,” McPhee said Sunday in Las Vegas. ”Two years ago I was walking around Ann Arbor kicking stones and couldn’t get a job.”

McPhee went two years between his job as Capitals GM and his new one when new owner Bill Foley hired him for the dream job of his life as GM running the as-yet-named Vegas expansion team. From MacLellan to captain Alex Ovechkin, star center Nicklas Backstrom, goaltender Braden Holtby and management staffs on either side, this final in many ways is a validation of McPhee’s philosophy, knowledge and career.

”It’s great to see him have success somewhere else,” said Capitals defenseman John Carlson, one of 12 McPhee draft picks facing him in the final. ”I knew he would, based on the pieces that he put in place here.”

McPhee was GM when the Capitals last made the Cup Final in 1998 but had just taken over the previous summer. Until the past year, his greatest accomplishment was rebuilding Washington into a perennial playoff team and title contender that went to the playoffs from 2008-2013.

After missing the playoffs in 2014 http://www.cardinalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mason-cole-jersey , the Capitals did not renew McPhee’s contract.

”When you’re working with (players), they’re sometimes like your own kids,” McPhee said. ”You’re on call for them all the time, you’re trying to help them, you try to steer them in the right direction. Then you get fired and you’re suddenly persona non grata because nobody wants to be seen to be too close to you in the organization. I understand that’s how things change quickly and that’s the business.”

Things changed quickly because MacLellan went from McPhee’s college teammate and roommate and then right-hand man as assistant GM to the person who owner Ted Leonsis said gave ”the most negative of the interviews” among candidates. MacLellan said he felt like he had nothing to lose during the interview process, which led to him landing the job at the same time Barry Trotz was named coach.

MacLellan conceded Friday his relationship with McPhee was ”not as close” as in previous decades.

”I think it just took a little time for things to evolve,” MacLellan said. ”I think he needed a break from the game, needed a break from how it went down for him here and it just took time.”

MacLellan choked up a couple of times talking about glory days with McPhee, when they won the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Championship together at Bowling Green. McPhee and MacLellan have had dinner and texted in recent days about how strange it is to face each other after all that has transpired.

”It’s kind of a weird experience,” MacLellan said. ”It’s a little awkward, but it’s going to be a fun experience Martin Kaut Blackhawks Jersey , I hope.”

McPhee still has plenty of supporters in the Capitals’ locker room, especially among players he stuck his neck out for. He signed Jay Beagle as a college free agent in 2007, listened to now-Vegas goaltending coach Dave Prior and selected Holtby as the 10th goaltender in the 2008 draft and picked Tom Wilson in the first round in 2012.

”I have a very fond respect for George,” Wilson said. ”You always have kind of a soft spot for the guy that drafted you, that brought you into the league, that gave you a chance. … He kind of always had his players’ back.”

Not only is Beagle thankful to McPhee for taking a chance on him, but he also believes in the moves made to try to bring a championship to Washington well before now, even if they didn’t work out perfectly.

”The trades and the deals that he made were to win the Stanley Cup that year,” Beagle said. ”You can always look back and be like, `Oh it wasn’t the right one’ or `It was the right one.’ But at the time it was the moves that he felt needed to be done to win a Stanley Cup that year because we had a team to do it for a lot of years.”

Now that the Capitals – and Golden Knights – have that team, McPhee will be there each night to see one of his teams lift the Cup.

”I’m certainly proud of the Washington team and the players Rashaad Penny Color Rush Jersey ,” McPhee said. ”Really happy for them – and really proud of this team we have in Vegas.”



More Stanley Cup coverage: James Reimer has been coming up big for the surging Panthers the last six weeks. His latest effort was his second shutout this month and it helped Florida move closer to a playoff spot.

Reimer stopped 32 shots for his fifth straight win as the Panthers beat the reeling New York Islanders 3-0 Monday night.

”I just tried to be big in there and try to read the puck as best as I could and be on it,” Reimer said. ”And then rely on your D-men to clear any garbage, and they did a great job.”

It was the backup goalie’s fourth shutout this season and 21st of his career, improving his record to 7-1-0 since returning from an injury Feb. 12.

”Reims has answered the bell every time,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. ”This is the part of the season you need guys stepping up and he’s been one of our guys that’s stepped up for us. … His preparation is real good and you can see he was focused right from the drop of the puck tonight, made some big saves.”

Evgenii Dadonov and Keith Yandle each had a goal and an assist, and Nick Bjugstad also scored to help Florida win for the 13th time in 17 games (13-3-1).

The Panthers moved within one point of idle New Jersey for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. They have eight games remaining, one more than the Devils, over the final 13 days of the season.

”I really haven’t been paying much attention to what’s going on with the Devils and those other teams, but obviously we know it’s tight and you can’t afford to lose at this point,” Bjugstad said. ”There’s not much breathing room here at the end of the year. … We’ve got a tough schedule coming up here Marquis Haynes Color Rush Jersey , a lot of games, but it’s going to be a fun challenge.”

Christopher Gibson finished with 38 saves for the Islanders, who were eliminated from postseason contention for the second straight year with their 14th loss in 16 games (2-10-4).

”It’s tough,” coach Doug Weight said. ”It’s tough for us, and it’s not good enough. It’s tough for the fans, it’s tough for everybody involved. All we can say is we’re going to be better. … I think we have the ingredients and we have the drive and we’re going to work at it.”

Leading 1-0 after one period, Florida pulled away with two goals in the second while outshooting New York 19-11.

After Islanders rookie Mathew Barzal was given a double-minor for high-sticking Vincent Trochek 1:24 into the middle period, Florida took advantage just 23 seconds later. Bjugstad got a pass from Jamie McGinn, skated into the right circle and fired the puck past Gibson for his 18th goal.

Dadonov made it 3-0 at 6:09 as he sent a pass from the left side boards toward the net for a streaking Bjugstad, but the puck deflected off the skate of Islanders defenseman Brandon Davidson and past Gibson. It was Dadonov’s 24th goal of the season, and ninth goal and 21st point in his last 17 games.

The Panthers outshot the Islanders 16-10 in the first period Pernell McPhee Color Rush Jersey , with both teams getting solid chances.

Gibson denied Derek MacKenzie in front 3 1/2 minutes in, and then stopped MacKenzie Weeger’s shot from the left circle and Maxim Mamim’s follow attempt on the rebound in front a little more than two minutes later.

The Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck hit a post 2 1/2 minutes in. Reimer also turned away Andrew Ladd’s tip attempt in front 4 1/2 minutes in, Anders Lee’s backhand two minutes later, and two tries in close by John Tavares shortly after that.

Reimer acknowledged that being in the thick of the playoff race has helped elevate his game.

”When it’s going like this you just come to the rink ready to go,” he said. ”You’re excited to play, every game means something, and those are the fun games to play.”

Yandle got the Panthers on the scoreboard with 8:22 left in the opening period as he sent a long wrist shot from between the circles in front of the blue line past Gibson’s glove side for his eighth.

NOTES: Aleksander Barkov had an assist on Yandle’s goal, giving him 15 assists and 21 points in his last 17 games. He is one away from becoming the first Panthers player with 50 assists since Olli Jokinen had 52 in 2006-07. … The Panthers improved to 10-3-1 this month, tying the franchise record for wins and points (21) in March set in 2006. Florida has three more games remaining this month. … Florida is 20-6-1 in its last 27 games. …. The Panthers improved to 26-1-0 when leading after two periods. … Tavares snapped a five-game point streak in which he had two goals and seven assists.

UP NEXT

Panthers: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night in the second of a four-game trip.

Islanders: At the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
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