Camp over, Caps turn to contracts

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Loose Pucks,Sports,Brian McNally

Capitals development camp is over – the Red team won the final scrimmage 4-3 over the White team on a goal by Gregory Miller in overtime – and all that’s left now is the final touches of the offseason. General manager George McPhee spoke to reporters afterwards and tried his best to answer our questions.

Let’s start with restricted free agent defenseman Mike Green, who has until 5 p.m. Sunday to accept the team’s qualifying offer of $5 million for one year. After that Green would become an unrestricted free agent. But the potential for a longer term deal is apparently still on the table.

“As I said I don’t elaborate on these things,” McPhee said. “But we’re talking and I think there’s a deal to be made there. So hopefully we’ll have an answer today or tomorrow.”

That stands also for defenseman John Carlson, who has less leverage without arbitration rights. That’s a similar position to fellow defenseman Karl Alzner last summer. And while the team will learn Green’s choice on the qualifying offer, it doesn’t mean a deal is imminent. That 5 p.m. deadline doesn’t mean negotiations can’t continue indefinitely. The start of training camp is the next “deadline” and because of the collective bargaining negotiations between the owners and players no one knows when that will be anyway.         

“I don’t know that it changes things a lot for us or for the other side. I think when you’re sort of negotiating in good faith and trying to get it done, I don’t think anybody’s trying to squeeze anybody on the other side,” McPhee said. “And so in some ways it’s an artificial deadline. I think we’ve had healthy discussions with both players…I don’t expect tomorrow to be a big day with respect to signing these players. I think that’s something we’ll get done sooner than later and they’ll be deals that we can live with and they can live with.”

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