Capitals owner Ted Leonsis declined to speak with the media on Monday, deferring all questions on Bruce Boudreau's firing to general manager George McPhee.
Read into that what you will, but it seems clear McPhee acted on his own with Monday's coaching change and will be judged on its success.
McPhee has built a team that on paper should compete for a Stanley Cup. With that in mind McPhee asked Boudreau to rule with an iron first this season, figuring a tougher aproach would make the Caps more playoff ready.
Boudreau did just that, cutting back Alex Ovechkin's ice time, benching Alex Semin and scratching Joel Ward for missing a team meeting.
The Capitals response? Lackadaisical play, poor defensive zone coverage and a 3-7-1 skid that got their coach fired.
Now that Boudreau has been replaced by Dale Hunter, the pressure shifts squarely onto the shoulders of McPhee.
Now, the same rules that applied to Boudreau apply to McPhee. If the Caps fail to improve on their previous playoff showings by reaching the conference finals, McPhee may be looking at a similar fate than the one Boudreau just experienced.