Date of Last Contract: June 28, 2000
Signed Through: 2000-2001 Season
Caps Sign Murphy To 1-Year Contract
Jason La Canfora
The Washington Post
Thursday , June 29, 2000 ; D02
The Washington Capitals agreed to terms with speedy winger Joe Murphy yesterday on a one-year contract worth $1 million. Murphy, 32, could have filed for unrestricted free agency on Saturday and begun negotiations with any NHL club but instead talked exclusively with Washington.
"I really wanted to stay in Washington," Murphy said. "This is a great place to play."
Murphy is a proven scorer after 14 years in the league. A 6-foot, 190-pound right wing, he has produced at least 20 goals in all six seasons in which he played at least 70 games. Murphy had five goals and 13 points in 29 games with the Capitals last season after being claimed off waivers from Boston, where he clashed with the coaching staff, prompting the move. He had 12 goals and 27 points in 55 games overall.
Murphy has been labeled a difficult teammate throughout his career but was embraced by his peers in Washington, his seventh NHL team; Coach Ron Wilson frequently referred to Murphy as "a model citizen." Murphy has good skills, plays with a scrappy edge and is not afraid to drop the gloves, attributes the Capitals covet. His scoring touch should help replace some of the void created by the eventual trade of disgruntled sniper Peter Bondra.
"We like what Joe brought to our team," General Manager George McPhee said. "His speed is great for our lineup and his intensity was something we weren't expecting, but he's excellent in that department. And there were no issues whatsoever with other players. In fact, he's well-liked."
McPhee is continuing negotiations with the club's three other potential unrestricted free agents--backup goalie Craig Billington, tough guy Jim McKenzie and depth defenseman Rob Zettler. Billington is likely the next to agree to terms, possibly today. The Capitals will begin talks later this month with restricted free agents Chris Simon, Sergei Gonchar, Jan Bulis, Brendan Witt, Andrei Nikolishin and Ken Klee.