BOSTON | George McPhee took a breath. Barely 15 minutes had passed since Joel Ward gave the Washington Capitals just their third-ever Game 7 victory with an overtime goal as the man who built this team exhaled.
“We needed to win a series like this, this franchise needed it,” he said. “We played [the Boston Bruins] as hard as we could. I don’t know how we did it, but it was nice to see that go in. We needed it.”
McPhee credited Bruins president Cam Neely, general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien, calling Boston a “fabulous organization.” But as he watched Ward end the series, it was his organization and many trials and tribulations in his mind.
“I just saw it in the back of the net,” McPhee said. “It’s just nice to win one of these for a change.”
This was in many ways a validation of coach Dale Hunter and his brand of hockey.
“It’s one of the most committed groups we’ve ever had. They’ll do anything to win. They’re blocking shots and they’re taking hits and putting the puck in the right places. That’s a real committed group. I love the way Dale’s coaching them,” McPhee said. “We were playing playoff games the last couple months of the regular season. And when we did what Dale asked, it worked. We won games. It worked in the first round here.”