Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway.
Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.
For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board.
On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call.
The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”
Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.
The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.
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The second round of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are about to get started, and if you take a look at the bracket, you'll notice something strange.
The President's Trophy-winning Capitals have to face the Penguins, the team that finished just behind the Capitals for the NHL lead in points.
What that means is that the two best teams from the regular season have to play each other in the second round of the NHL Playoffs.
The reason the No. 1 and No. 2 teams are playing each other so early is because the NHL restructured the playoff format in order to have divisional teams face off against each other first, hoping to strengthen rivalries. It's an incredibly stupid idea, as Capitals forward Daniel Winnik has stated on several occasions.
The problem with the format is that when a division performs to the extent of what the Metropolitan did in 2017, the three top teams in the Eastern Conference end up in the same pod because the NHL wants divisional teams to play each other early in the playoffs.
When you add in the sheer chaos of playoff hockey, in which a No. 1 seed almost always gets eliminated early, the NHL ends up with wildly uneven paths to the Stanley Cup Final.
Consider this: When the No. 1 seed Capitals take on the No. 2 Penguins, it will mark the first time in six years that the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds faced off against each other in the playoffs. Having the top two teams face off in the playoffs should be the goal of the NHL on a yearly basis instead of a once-in-a-decade factoid.
But because the Capitals and Penguins are facing each other in the second round and not —say— the Eastern Conference Finals, it means there is at least one team with an unnecessary and highly favorable draw.
That team in 2017 is the New York Rangers.
The Rangers finished in fourth place in the Metro Division (48-28-6), but with 103 points, would have been good enough for second place in the Atlantic. The Rangers faced off against the Atlantic-Division champions Montreal Canadiens, a team that earned a No. 1 seed despite having the fourth best record in the East.
The Rangers knocked off the Canadiens and now face the Senators, the second-place team in the Atlantic.
If the Rangers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, they will have avoided the top three seeds by points in the first two rounds.
RELATED: NHL PLAYOFF POWER RANKINGS
This is what the Playoff rankings look like based on seed:
1M: Capitals, 118pts
1A: Canadiens, 103pts
2M Penguins, 111pts
2A: Senators, 98pts
3A: Bruins, 95pts
3M: Blue Jackets, 108pts
1WC: Rangers, 102pts
2WC: Maple Leafs, 95pts
This is what the Playoff rankings would look like if organized by regular-season points:
1. Capitals, 118pts
2. Penguins, 11pts
3. Blue Jackets, 108pts
4. Canadiens, 103pts
5. Rangers, 102pts
6. Senators, 98pts
7. Bruins, 95pts
8. Maple Leafs, 95pts
A points-based playoff bracket would not change much in the first round: The No. 1 seed Capitals would still face the No. 8 seed Maple Leafs, and the No. 5 Rangers would still face the No. 4 Canadiens. But what it impacts is the second round. The Capitals would face the winner of the Rangers-Canadiens series, instead of the Penguins-Blue Jackets winner.
A points-based bracket would reward the teams at the top of the Eastern Conference, not just the respective divisions. It would also prevent lower seeded teams from having an easier path to the Eastern Conference Finals in the event of a first-round upset.
The NHL wants to build rivalries in early playoff series instead of what playoffs are intended to do: Weed out the lesser teams setting up a conference championship series between the two best teams.
We know that won't happen this season in the East, and the Rangers are the team benefiting from it the most.