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Capitals cut ties with Oates, McPhee

The SportsXchange

The Washington Capitals announced Saturday that they fired coach Adam Oates and will not renew the contract of general manager George McPhee.

The moves come after the team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

"George has been a terrific, longtime executive for our franchise, and I'm grateful for his commitment to the Capitals organization for the past 17 years," owner Ted Leonsis said in a statement. "Under his leadership the Capitals won seven division titles, twice were the top team in the Eastern Conference, earned a Presidents' Trophy and competed in the playoffs 10 times. He was a highly effective manager who is extremely well regarded within our organization and around the NHL. We have the utmost respect for him and his family and wish them nothing but the very best.

"We are also appreciative of Adam's efforts and thank him for his devotion, work ethic and contributions to the Capitals the past two seasons. He is a smart, tactical coach who improved the performance of several of our players. He is a Hall of Fame player who we believe will be a longtime coach in the NHL. We will help him in whatever way we are able and wish him well.

"This is an important time for our organization, and I feel a change is needed in order to get us back to being a top echelon team that competes for the Stanley Cup."

Oates, who starred for the team as a player, had one more season remaining on his three-year contract.

McPhee's contract expired. He was the team's general manager for 17 years. Among his accomplishments were drafting stars Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

Despite having Ovechkin, a three-time MVP who led the NHL with 51 goals this season, the team has not advanced to the conference finals with him.

Washington finished 38-30-14 this season.

Leonsis and team president Dick Patrick scheduled a press conference for 4 p.m. Saturday.
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