Although there is still a little more than three-quarters of the regular season yet to come, the Washington Capitals are plainly underachieving with a 2-8-1 record for last place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
This is coming after the franchise’s second coaching change in less than a year and its second straight dismissal from the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. However, at the time of last spring’s loss to the New York Rangers, there was more cause for solace than usual, in that it appeared Dale Hunter had sharply pivoted the Caps back in the right direction.
The McPhee era began in 1997-98 with a relatively surprising run to the Stanley Cup finals. The Caps rapidly retracted to irrelevance for nearly a decade thereafter but replenished expectations as Bruce Boudreau arrived amid the rise of Alexander Ovechkin.
But in four years behind the bench, Boudreau mustered only three playoff series wins and no trips beyond the halfway mark of the tournament. The franchise face Ovechkin, meanwhile, has often personified the team’s underachievement under Boudreau, Hunter and Oates alike.
The longer it takes Washington to snap out of its series of slumps, the faster the sand falls in McPhee’s hourglass. He leads off the list of general managers under the most pressure to put forth a better team so as to avoid joining Brian Burke among those who lost their post in 2013.
Besides McPhee, there are three other general managers who ought to be fidgeting for better results to ensure their employment’s continuation.
There may be others who are not exactly on appreciably solid ice, but these are the GMs with the most brittle margins for error given the states and recent track records of their respective teams.