After spending most of his time recently working the phone lines leading up to Monday's trade deadline, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman joined Chicago Tribune Live to explain how everything went down.
Bowman explained why he believes the Blackhawks are getting a high-quality defenseman in Johnny Oduya and acknowledged it was difficult to say goodbye to John Scott, whom he referred to as "a very popular guy."
The trade deadline was more quiet than normal, and Bowman explained why.
"The difficulty this season, even moreso than in past years, is the standings are very compressed this year," Bowman said. "I think there's not too many teams in the whole list of 30 who are out of the playoff picture, and as a result, only a couple of teams have players they're willing to trade away for future draft picks or prospects not yet in the NHL, so that makes it a tough trade market for a lot of teams.
We're in that category, we don't want to necessarily trade away roster players to try to improve our team," Bowman continued. "There was a lot of talk throughout the league. We were in on a lot of these calls, and the reason they didn't get made is because it was too valuable for them to trade players away and not get roster players in return. We certainly worked it as well as we could, had a lot of discussions but it just didn't work out other than what we did."
At the end, Bowman explained the team's current mental state:
"You have to be positive, I think that's the most important thing here," Bowman said. "We're frustrated that we haven't had better results lately, but I also think that we've got a lot of great players here. We're all working together to try to put a nice streak together and I think we saw glimpses of that when we had those four consecutive wins against some very impressive teams."
After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.
Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.
"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.
"What was said this time around crossed the line."
The Capitals released a statement about the incident:
"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."
The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.
Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.
"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."
The Capitals released the full interview.
Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.
Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.
Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:
After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: