Caps left ‘in good hands’

Owner Ted Leon­sis says he wanted to be far from the ac­tiv­ity when the off­sea­son plan came to­gether.

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - Ex­cerpted from wash­ing­ton­post.com/ cap­i­talsin­sider — Alex Pre­witt

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?”

JOHN MCDON­NELL/THE WASHINGTON POST

Newly ac­quired Cap­i­tal T.J. Oshie draws a crowd at the team’s fan fest at Ket­tler Ice­plex on Fri­day.

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