In his first interview with national media since being hired as General Manager of the Las Vegas team name to be decided in a few months, George McPhee joined Power Play with Scott Laughlin and Steve Kouleas on SiriusXM’ NHL Network.
McPhee talks about the head coach timeline, hiring a scouting department, building through the draft, his relationship with The Creator, and much more.
Name – George McPhee Born – July 2, 1958 Guelph, Ontario, Canada
1976-1978 – Guelph Holody Platers 1978 -1982 – Bowling Green State University 1982-1983 – Tulsa Oilers 1982-1984 – New York Rangers 1984-1985 – New Haven Nighthawks 1985-1988 – New Jersey Devils 1988-1989 – Utica Devils 1988-1989 – New Jersey Devils
Hobey Baker Award (Best College Player) winner in 1982
Scored three goals a 1983 playoff game without playing a single regular season game in the NHL that season
1992-1997 – VP and Director of Player Operations – Vancouver Canucks 1997-2014 – General Manager/VP of Hockey Operations – Washington Capitals 2015-2016 – Special Advisor to the General Manager – New York Islanders 2016 – Co-GM of Team Canada in the IIHF World Championship
Eastern Conference Championship in 1997-98
121 point season in 2009-2010
Longest tenure in Capitals GM history
Seven division championships, eight 40 win season, 10 playoff appearances in 17 season as GM
Drafted Alexander Ovechkin 1st overall in 2004
2004 “Fire Sale” in which he traded captain Steve Konowalchuk, Jaromir Jagr, Peter Bondra, Sergei Gonchar, and Michael Nylander. Team made playoffs three seasons later winning division in 2007.
Six different coaches in 17 years. (Ron Wilson, Bruce Cassidy, Glen Hanlon*, Bruce Boudreaux, Dale Hunter, and Adam Oates)
Son, Graham, selected 149th overall in the 5th round to the Edmonton Oilers in 2016 Draft
Arguably the most important man in Las Vegas hockey has been named, and his name is George McPhee. At a press conference today at the T-Mobile Arena, The Creator unveiled McPhee as the first general manager for the brand new Las Vegas NHL franchise.
George is well respected around the league. He is a leader who knows every aspect of the game, both as a player and as a hockey operations executive, having been the GM for 17 years with the Capitals, a well-managed and successful franchise. It was important to me that our General Manager be someone that I know I can work well with and someone who is as committed to building a winning franchise for the people of Las Vegas. -The Creator
McPhee’s most recent gig was as a Special Advisor to GM Garth Snow and the New York Islanders. He’s most known as the GM of the Washington Captials from 1997-2014, the longest tenure in Capitals history.
During his 17 year stint as general manager in Washington he made 128 trades, none more scrutinized than the trade in which McPhee sent Filip Forsberg to Nashville for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. Erat was a disaster in Washington and was sent away seven months later after being demoted to the fourth line and eventually being healthy scratched for the first time in his career. Latta is yet to register more than seven points in a season for the Caps. Forsberg meanwhile has become a rising star as a Predator.
I am honored to have been selected to be General Manager of this historic franchise. This is an exciting opportunity to work with Bill Foley, to be involved with this franchise from the beginning, and to leverage my leadership skills and extensive hockey experience as we build a winning team. -George McPhee
So much for that August first date. The Creator will hold a special press conference from the visitor’s locker room at the T-Mobile Arena beginning at 1 PM tomorrow.
Bill Foley, the majority owner of the newly awarded NHL franchise, will hold a press conference to announce the new General Manager of the Las Vegas NHL franchise. -Michelle Kersch, VegasIsHockey.com Press Release
However, recently I’ve begun getting the feeling The Creator and his team want someone much younger, more eager, taking a big step up, and probably someone most of us have never heard of. No one has told me anything to confirm this suspicion, but the context clues from both conversations I’ve had and attempting to read in between the lines of comments made publicly have led me to this belief.
One who wasn’t contacted was Florida Panthers president Dale Tallon. ‘We never talked,’ Tallon said. ‘I know he asked my owner (Vincent Viola) for permission and he was given it. They’re both West Point guys. But I never heard from Mr. Foley.’ -Steve Carp, LVRJ
Tallon is probably the guy with the best resume to take this job. He’s got the most experience and the most success, but father time is not on his side.
Last week we began a spirited discussion over the activity, or inactivity, we’ve seen from the new Las Vegas NHL franchise over the first three weeks of its existence. There will never be a true answer to that question, but during the discussion there was one question that kept coming up in my own mind and now it just won’t seem to go away.
We learned there are nine (not five) full time members of the NHL staff at the moment. Most of them are in sales with a majority of them specifically focused on ticketing. A few communications people, our buddy in social media, and another in events. Add it all up, and there’s literally not a single paid employee with knowledge of how to properly select a GM.
That brings us to the only name linked to this organization that does have the background to help select the right person to head up the hockey side of the operation. His name is Murray Craven, the 18 year NHL veteran who is “advising” The Creator in the process of setting up the organization.
But that’s really all we know about Craven’s involvement. Any time he’s referenced it’s as just that, an advisor. Since 2014 when this whole thing began, Craven’s name was linked to The Creator’s. Something comes up about hockey, must have been Craven’s idea. Now though, seemingly within days, or at least weeks, of hiring of the GM, we still don’t even know if Craven is, or is ever going to be, an official employee of the organization. Thanks for the help Muz, see ya!
So who really is making what may go down as the most important decision the organization ever makes, hiring its first general manager? Is it the billionaire who owes his wealth and prosperity to brilliance in the field of finance? Is it Murray Craven? Are there others?
The common thread between those two pieces of news is the name Jason Botterill. Botterrill is the Associate GM in Pittsburgh and has widely been considered the GM-in-waiting to take over with Rutherford’s decides to hang em up.
The 40 year old Canadian was the 20th overall pick in the 1994 NHL Draft to the Dallas Stars. His playing days ended abruptly appearing in just 88 NHL games before suffering a miserable concussion that forced him into early retirement in 2004. It didn’t take long before Botterill found his way onto the other side of the glass as a scout in 2006 for the Stars and eventually made his way to Pittsburgh a year later as their salary cap-ologist.
He was then promoted to Associate GM after the 2013-14 season ended and appeared on his way to being the full GM shortly thereafter. Now, with the Rutherford extension, Botterill may just be the perfect candidate to become Las Vegas’ first General Manager.
Today’s NHL is all about parity, so much that they want the Las Vegas expansion team to hit the ice skating. You’ve probably heard that Las Vegas will be a pretty good team. The Creator believes the team will be challenging for a playoff spot right away. ESPN’s Craig Custance said NHL general managers “expect this to be the best expansion team ever put together.”
Custance told TSN that Las Vegas’ GM selection “will be the biggest hire” suggesting he would bring in George McPhee. Darren Dreger mentioned former Arizona GM Don Maloney. We’re interested in the situation with Dale Tallon. NBC’s Pierre McGuire said The Creator will have a “very significant search.”
Well whoever gets the gig, they’ll only have three days (June 17th to June 20th, 2017) to analyze 100’s of NHL players. Just imagine the Starbucks they’ll be blowing through when the management team presents the league with their roster selections on June 20th.
Join us at the first ever SinBin.vegas Charity BinBall Tournament on September 8th at noon at The Space LV. Help us raise a ton of money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada and have a blast playing Las Vegas’ new favorite game, BinBall.
Still need more convincing? Here’s a full FAQ of anything and everything concerning the BinBall tournament.
What is BinBall?
BinBall is a cross between cornhole and beer pong. Players throw ping pong balls at custom BinBall boards to try and score. Everyone can play, no one is good.
Why are we playing?
First, to raise money for a good cause. All money brought in goes to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada. Second, because the offseason is over and we want to get together to celebrate the beginning of Year 2 of the Golden Knights.
How much is it to play?
Teams of two cost $100 total or $50 per person. The double-elimination tournament has room for 64 total teams.
What are the prizes?
Prizes include custom Golden Knights Adirondack chairs, lower and upper-level tickets, a custom Golden Knights logo helmet, VGK bobbleheads, gear and more!
When is the event taking place?
September 8th, starting at 12PM at The Space LV. The Space LV is located at 3460 Cavaretta Ct, Las Vegas, NV 89103 (on Harmon and Polaris, just west of the Strip). Parking is available and free.
How do you play?
Players stand behind the foul line and throw ping pong ball at the BinBall boards. If the ball goes in a hole, the team gets one point. Teams alternate throwing balls.
How do you win?
The first team to 3 points wins.
How long will it take?
Each game will be limited to 10 minutes. If the game is not settled within 10 minutes it will go to a tiebreaker to determine the winner. The entire tournament is expected to take about 3 hours.
Are there age restrictions?
Nope, as long as you can throw a ping pong ball you can play.
Why BinBall and not a game anyone has ever heard of?
We wanted to take away any previous skill allowing everyone to be able to play and more importantly, everyone the chance to win. Whether you are a teenager, a grown adult, an NHL superstar or somewhere in between, you can play and you can win. As we always say, BinBall: Everyone can play, no one is good.
Can I be on more than one team?
Absolutely. The more teams the merrier.
How will the bracket be created?
The bracket will be randomly generated a few days before the event and will look like this. And yes, there will be a giant one at the wall at The Space.
Are there any restrictions on my team name?
Technically, no, but remember this is a charity event raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters, which means kids will be there. So, don’t be that guy.
Will there be food?
Yep. Food will be available for purchase at food truck(s) in the parking lot of The Space LV.
Will there be drinks?
Yep. The Space LV has a full bar including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for purchase.
Can my company become a sponsor?
Plenty of sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
How do I register for the tournament to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada?
Looks like the hiring of the GM may take a bit longer than we previously suspected. Speaking to Steve Carp of the LVRJ, The Creator talked about his plans on when he thinks the staff will come together.
We need to get a GM hired and get our scouts hired. That is the priority to me. No question. We want to do things the right way. We don’t want to violate any rules. -The Creator
Carp was able to pry a specific date out of him.
Foley said he is hoping to have his general manager hired by no later than Aug. 1. Sometime next week, Foley will contact NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly to learn the protocol on approaching other teams for talking to their front office personnel. -Steve Carp, LVRJ
Have to say I’m a little disappointed the GM won’t be in place by the opening of free agency on July 1st. I knew it would be tough to get someone in place by the draft (it’s tomorrow), but a lot is going to go down in the next few weeks and the longer this takes the further behind Las Vegas will be.
If the rumors are true about The Creator putting together a dream team of hockey execs, than its time to examine who may be Las Vegas hockey’s Johnny Cochran and Robert Kardashian. The main name that’s been tossed around is former NHL forward Scott Mellanby.
Sure it’s early and it could be speculation, but Mellanby might be a good fit in Las Vegas. He played 21 seasons in the NHL, and played for two different expansion teams. Florida drafted him 30th overall in the 1993 Expansion Draft, and later he was the Captain of the Atlanta Thrashers. He had a solid career, and saw the NHL develop a lot over those 20+ seasons.
After he retired from hockey, Mellanby worked with Vancouver GM Mike Gillis. During his stay in Vancouver, the Canucks finished 1st in their division every season.
Mellanby left the Canucks to join the St Louis Blues coaching staff. Many believed Mellanby was training to become a head coach. After two seasons with St Louis, he resigned citing his heart wasn’t into coaching. Now, Mellanby is the Assisntant GM under Marc Bergevin in Montreal. Now they’re both getting killed in Montreal after the Habs collapse.