The timing of the move showed that firing Adam Oates and deciding not to renew George McPhee's contract was not a rash decision by Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. You don’t keep a respected general manager like McPhee in the organization for 17 years and then make a knee-jerk decision after missing the playoffs for just the first time since 2006-07.
This was thought out, deliberated and, to the Capitals' organizational credit, it looks like it was done in a respectful manner in which Leonsis wasn't working behind the scenes to line up a replacement while his GM was still employed.
Cutting ties with a man responsible for building a team that looked, at times, capable of breaking through during the playoffs was hard. But it doesn’t get any easier from here. Leonsis will meet with the Washington media later Saturday afternoon, where he’ll share his thought process moving forward, but these are some next steps they should take:
1. Look internally for answers
There was some speculation that the Capitals pursued Bob Nicholson, who ran Hockey Canada, and it’s possible they kicked the tires on Brendan Shanahan. But president Dick Patrick will be part of the media availability today, so it appears he’ll be in on the decision-making.