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Capitals GM: “We needed to win a series like this”

George McPhee

Washington Capitals Vice President and General Manager George McPhee speaks during a news conference to announce the new team head coach at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. Former Capitals player Dale Hunter is the new head coach replacing Bruce Boudreau, who was fired this morning. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


The funny thing about all the “upset” talk regarding the Washington Capitals taking a seven-game series against the Boston Bruins is that the Caps came into this season with just as much Stanley Cup hype as the defending champions. It just so happened that Washington kinda flopped during most of the 2011-12 season. Stephen Whyno quotes Capitals GM George McPhee on how important the Game 7 really is for the franchise.

“We needed to win a series like this, this franchise needed it,” McPhee said. “We played [the Boston Bruins] as hard as we could. I don’t know how we did it, but it was nice to see that go in. We needed it.”

Even at this point, it seems unclear if Capitals coach Dale Hunter will be back in 2012-13. That’s the natural reaction one has to seeing Alex Ovechkin receiving less time on ice than six other Capitals forwards. Yet from the way McPhee discusses the situation, Hunter is passing his tests with flying colors.

“It’s one of the most committed groups we’ve ever had. They’ll do anything to win,” McPhee said. “We were playing playoff games the last couple months of the regular season. And when we did what Dale asked, it worked. We won games. It worked in the first round here.”

It didn’t work by much, but for a team that has lost its fair share of Game 7s in the Alex Ovechkin era, coming out on top during one of those coin flip affairs must generate a rather satisfying feeling.