Wayne Gretzky and Doug MacLean to the Washington Capitals?

Wayne Gretzky and Doug MacLean to the Washington Capitals?

With the Vancouver Canucks set to name Boston Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning as their new general manager, the Washington Capitals saw one candidate drop out of the pool for their vacancy.

Don Sweeney, the veteran NHL defenseman and an assistant GM for the Bruins as well, has reportedly interviewed for the Caps opening. So has Paul Fenton, a highly respected assistant GM for the Nashville Predators. Ray Shero is another former Predators assistant GM – you might know him better as the former Pittsburgh Penguins GM – and he’s now available for hire.

(The assumption with Fenton and Shero is that Barry Trotz would be the next Capitals coach but, again, the clock is ticking with the Canucks looking at him too.)

But the name that continues to be linked to the Capitals is that of Wayne Gretzky, an amigo of owner Ted Leonsis. However, Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington believes that Gretzky doesn’t appreciate the waiting game the Capitals might be playing with him:

A source close to Gretzky said Monday that the 53-year-old native of Brantford, Ontario very much wants to be president of the Capitals and would consider former Columbus general manager Doug MacLean as his general manager. However, the source said Gretzky has not had more than a few casual conversations with the Capitals and believes that if they really wanted Gretzky they would have hired him by now.

Of course, knowing Gretz, this can all be translated into “PAY ME TED.”

MacLean’s name is an interesting one. He was fired in 2007 by the Columbus Blue Jackets after six seasons as GM and team president – and his track record of transactions was spotty, especially in dealing draft picks. He’s become a big personality on Sportsnet, both in TV and on “Hockey Central,” but has wanted back into NHL management. Remember his alliance with Jim Balsillie in 2009?

MacLean isn’t necessarily a name being thrown around for job openings, but when you give Wayne Gretzky your hockey operations you give Wayne Gretzky the power to hire off the radar. (Of course, "consider" doesn't mean "hire." We all know it'll be Messier, right?)