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“We Can Make The Playoffs With This Team” As Caps Stay Quiet At Deadline

By Sky Kerstein
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George McPhee

(Credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Sky Kerstein Sky Kerstein
Sky Kerstein grew up in Chantilly, Virginia and is a 2001 graduat...
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The Capitals surprisingly stayed quiet at the NHL trade deadline and will stick with their current players as they make a playoff push.  This is the first time since 2008-2009 that the Caps didn’t make a deadline deal.

“We can make the playoffs with this team and if he [Backstrom] comes back we can beat anyone in this conference,”  General Manager George McPhee said today.

But he did add, “Don’t know, hope so, but we don’t know” on if Nicklas Backstrom will return this season.

McPhee said, “I don’t think so” when he was asked if he was even close to making a deal and said he didn’t want to make a “mistake” that he would regret in the summer.

“If you look at the deals out there I didn’t see anything that made us better,”  McPhee said.

But their players were coveted by other teams.

“Everyone seem to want our players but they wanted to give us futures and prospects,”  McPhee said.  “And I wasn’t interested in doing that.”

Roman Hamrlik, who was a healthy scratch the last three games, and Mike Knuble, who was a healthy scratch five of their last nine games, were the likely ones to be headed out, but no trade occurred.

“We are here to do our job and this is part of the game,”  defenseman Roman Hamrlik said following practice earlier in the day.

Mike Knuble wasn’t sure he wouldn’t be traded following skating with the first line this morning.

“I imagine Keith [Aucoin] will be back tomorrow,”  Knuble said.   “I Imagine, that’s what I assume would happen that he’d be back tomorrow, just kind of filling his spot for a day.”

Knuble also talked about where he thought his game is right now.

“I’m not standing there with my head in the sand, I know what the year I’ve had and how things have gone of late,”  Knuble said on waiting out the trade deadline today.  “You wait, got 3 [or] 4 hours here, Dave Steckel got his call at 3:30, after it already ended you just have to kind of to be in the boat till 3:30, 4 o’clock.”

But no trades happened and the two veterans will be here the rest of the season.

“We’re going to need them and its not as if people volunteer to sit out,”  McPhee said on Hamrlik and Knuble.  “They’re going to be upset sitting out.”

Dale Hunter will have to fix things with the players as they move on and try to make the playoffs.  The Caps are one point out of a playoff spot and three points out of the Southeast Division as they start a stretch of six of their next seven games at home, starting with the struggling New York Islanders tomorrow.

“I finally saw that spark we’ve been looking for the last few games,”  McPhee said.  “And I hope that can continue.”

Listen here to the whole George McPhee Press Conference

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