Caps left ‘in good hands’
Owner Ted Leonsis says he wanted to be far from the activity when the offseason plan came together.
Around the start of free agency, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis jetted across the Atlantic Ocean and visited Stonehenge while the team’s management plugged away in Arlington. “I wanted to be as far away from the activity as possible,” Leonsis said Saturday morning.
The vacation— and corresponding time difference— meant Leonsis was out of the loop when Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan signed Justin Williams for two years and $6.5 million on July 1 and landed T. J. Oshie from St. Louis in a trade the next evening. A copy of the news release pinged into his email inbox, and that was about it.
“When the season ended, they told me what they were going to try to do, and they delivered on that,” Leonsis said of his front office. “What I’ve been very satisfied with is that they tell you what they’re going to do and they do it, and there’s not a lot of drama around it. It’s very thoughtful and decisive. I think the organization is in good hands.”
The superstar chosen to lead this organization, captain Alex Ovechkin, will turn 30 in September, not long before his 11th NHL season begins. Asked whether he believed the Capitals’ window for winning a Stanley Cup was still open under Ovechkin’s presence, Leonsis replied, “I’ve felt the window to win with him is 10 years old,” and then launched into a longer message of support for the face of the franchise.
“Don’t take Alex Ovechkin for granted,” Leonsis said, maybe to reporters, maybe to fans at large. “I think that happens sometimes, that you see him all the time, there’s this repetitiveness about his greatness, but when people from outside the organization come in— I think you’ve heard that with Justin Williams— this is the best player in the league. He’s been that for the last 10 years. And the consistency he’s brought is really historic. He doesn’t miss games. He plays hard all the time, and I feel I haven’t metmy commitment to him that we would build a team that would be able to win Stanley Cups.
“We’re in it together. He knows we’re committed. . . . So I do not think our window as an organization is closing. I think we’ve improved as a team, and I’m hoping, like all 29 other owners, that this is the year, and the only way you’ll know it is talking to you next year at this time to say, how did the season go?”
Newly acquired Capital T.J. Oshie draws a crowd at the team’s fan fest at Kettler Iceplex on Friday.