Capitals address grit, size and special teams
GM McPhee adds Walker, Belanger, Corvo, Jurcina on trade deadline day
George McPhee went with familiarity to stock the NHL's best team for what he hopes is a long playoff run.
Besides adding agitating forward Scott Walker on trade deadline day Wednesday, the Washington Capitals general manager acquired centre Eric Belanger and a pair of defencemen, Joe Corvo and Milan Jurcina.
"I've known George pretty much my whole career. He used to play for the Guelph Platers [of the Ontario Hockey League] then they moved to Owen Sound where I played [in the early 1990s]," Walker told Hockey Night in Canada Radio host Jeff Marek. "Then I had him as a GM in Vancouver. I represented myself one time and did a contract negotiation with him, so I'm excited to play for him."
McPhee surrendered a seventh-round draft pick for Walker, who has three goals and five points in 33 games this season.
Walker, 36, joins his fourth team after breaking into the NHL in 1994-95 with Vancouver and spending seven seasons in Nashville before joining Carolina in 2006.
"They're a truly skilled and dynamic team so I'm so excited to go and be a part of it," Walker told Marek.
A player that likes to keep the mood light in the dressing room, Walker said he wouldn't hesitate to kick a teammate in the butt if he wasn't pulling his weight.
He also looks forward to working with Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau.
"I heard he's a really personable guy but I also heard he loves to get the best out of each player," Walker said. "Whether you're the 13th or 14th forward in the lineup or the first-line guy, the coach has to get the best out of each guy. I'm so excited to play for a guy that tries to do that and build confidence in everybody."
Walker's lasting memory with the Hurricanes undoubtedly will be his overtime goal in Game 7 against Boston last season that sent them to the Eastern Conference finals.
Washington also reacquired Milan Jurcina from Columbus for a 2010 sixth-round pick, less than three months after sending him to the Blue Jackets in a deal that saw Jason Chimera come to Washington.
Jurcina, 26, has played 319 NHL games. The six-foot-four Czech blue-liner had 15 goals and 38 assists in 319 NHL games.
2nd round pick for Belanger
McPhee sent a second-round pick in this summer's draft to Minnesota for Belanger, a free agent this summer.
He has 13 goals and 22 assists in 35 games, ranking seventh in the NHL with wins on 57.6 per cent of his faceoffs.
The 32-year-old Belanger has scored 119 goals and 174 assists in 617 NHL games, with 26 power-play goals and eight short-handed markers. He has also played for Los Angeles, Carolina and Atlanta.
Corvo, 32, should be a solid complement to fellow point man Mike Green on the power play. All of Corvo's four goals this season and 30 of 66 in his career have come with the man-advantage.
"I think going into a situation like this, knowing the coach and what he expects of me, I'm just real excited about it," Corvo said in an interview with HNIC's Mark Lee.
"One of the things I was looking forward to is post-season play."
Corvo first met Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau when the latter held the same position with Lowell of the American Hockey League in 2000.
"I remember playing for him in the minors and just thinking how good of an NHL coach he would be and how great it would be to play for him. It's nice to get that opportunity at this level," Corvo said.
Glenn Healy of HNIC didn't praise the Corvo acquisition, saying the former Hurricane "doesn't think the game quick enough to be able to play at the semifinal and final levels."
Defenceman Brian Pothier, left-winger Oskar Osala and a second-round pick in 2011 are now property of Carolina.