by PuckStopsHere on 06/08/14 at 06:05 PM ET
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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