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Washington’s Hiring of GM Brian MacLellan

A couple weeks ago the Washington Capitals named Brian MacLellan as their new GM and I have not yet commented on that move, so i want to do so today.  MacLellan takes over from the former Caps GM in George McPhee.  MacLellan has been working in the Washington Capitals organization for fourteen years.  He joined the team in 2000 as a pro scout and eventually took over their scouting staff and became their assistant GM.  He isn't a new start for the Capitals.  They fired their GM and replaced him with the number two guy.

Worse the Caps picked MacLellan's coach in Barry Trotz and announced both hirings at the same time.  Trotz is a good coach but it sends the wrong message.  A general manager should pick the coach.  In this case ownership named the coach.  A top flight experienced general manager would not allow this.  He would demand his own coach.  These moves seem to show that Ted Leonsis is effectively the new GM.  Leonsis will make the important moves.  MacLellan goes from being George McPhee's assistant to Leonsis's assistant.  It is a step up the ladder but he really isn't in charge.

The proven technique to build a winning hockey team is to hire the best possible general manager and get out of the way and let him run the ship.  It might be fun for an owner to make hockey decisions, but he clearly doesn't have the hockey background of a top general manager.  He will not make the same good moves a good general manager will make and he will fail.

If Ted Leonsis wants to be the Washington Capital GM he will fail.  It looks like that is his plan.  He fired George McPhee who wouldn't let ownership be involved in management decisions and promoted his assistant in Brian MacLellan who will likely let him be involved.  It is a recipe for problems in Washington.

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CapsNeed2's avatar

Everything written in this article has been addressed 100 times over by Caps fans. Trotz was actually not hired before GMBMaC they were just introduced at the same time. Leonsis and Patrick interviewed 15 candidates before MaC was hired and he is not GMGM 2.0(I hope). If your a Caps fan that reads this article you already know all the counter arguments to it. I respectfully disagree with you on this one.

Posted by CapsNeed2 on 06/09/14 at 09:00 AM ET


Love how we get disclaimers like “... he is not GMGM 2.0 (I hope).”  Some say “he might not be like GMGM” or “Maybe he didn’t agree with GMGM.”  MacLellan grew up in the same town, played hockey with McPhee, went to school with McPhee, has been with the Caps for 14 years, 7 as Assistant GM.  What’s more, he headed up pro scouting and was likely responsible for our pursuit of Joe Corvo, Roman Hamrlik, Martin Erat and other debacles.

Here’s my challenge… please take a look at his resume and tell me EXACTLY what about him would indicate he will be successful.  It sure sounds like Ted’s reasoning was that MacLellan criticized him and stood out for that reason.  So… walk in a criticize the boss and that apparently creates a situation where your weak resume and body of work is ignored?

We needed someone from the outside and Ted blew it.  He air-balled a layup… plain and simple.  I tend to agree with the points made in this article… very hard to argue with.  Meanwhile, there will always be those who will proclaim that MacLellan was a good selection… then state that they “hope” he’s not like GMGM.

Posted by CurlyBill on 06/10/14 at 05:29 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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