On the day after the Washington Capitals' 1993-94 season ended, general manager David Poile and coach Jim Schoenfeld met with scouts to assess the NHL's June draft and talked generally about 1994 and beyond.
Today, team president Dick Patrick will begin meetings to determine how to make the franchise, which he said lost at least $5 million this season, more successful on and off the ice.
"We were pleased with the team down the stretch," said Patrick, who said the revenue loss is due primarily to three years of rising salaries and flat revenues.
"And I think our fans, who thought -- in my view unfairly -- that we weren't doing everything we could to win, were better satisfied because of the trade for Joe Juneau, the change in coaches and then because we played better," he said. "But I don't think we see how we played in the postseason as a reason to be complacent -- nor do we see it as a flash in the pan. The bottom line is we didn't win the Stanley Cup."
As Poile, Schoenfeld and Patrick assess what went wrong this season, which ended with Monday's 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal, they are faced with a myriad of questions.
* Will the Caps re-sign Poile, who is at the end of his contract?
Poile says he has a 12-year investment here and "wants to be with the Caps."
Patrick said he expects to meet with Poile this week or early next week.
"I view it as just a technical or mechanical thing," Patrick said. "I'm planning for David Poile as our general manager. In my view, nTC it's just a matter of working out the details."
* Defenseman Kevin Hatcher is a free agent and coming off an outstanding postseason. Will the Caps re-sign him? How much will it cost?
"I think I have 30 or more negotiating situations to handle," said Poile. "Kevin is certainly a priority. But history tells us when a player plays out his option, he wants to see what's out there. We're going to do whatever we can to sign Kevin."
Asked if the team would match an offer sheet, Poile said he hoped the signing of Kelly Miller ($1.8 million) last year in a similar situation would be the way of the future.
* While the Caps were much improved in the postseason, they continued to struggle to get scoring from their forwards.
The arrival of Juneau from Boston in a trade for Al Iafrate improved the Caps' offense and magnified their shortage of finishers.
Are they going to attempt to sign a "power forward" to complete the Juneau line?
"If you assess our team and ask are the forwards scoring enough goals, the answer is no. . . . If we saw a chance to help ourselves more offensively, if a so-called power forward is available, we'd look at it," said Poile. "But we'd also ask the question, 'What do we have to give up?' "
Poile and Schoenfeld did agree that they hope a solid goal scorer may still be in the organization.
* The goaltending situation. The four-way battle among Don Beaupre, Rick Tabaracci, Byron Dafoe and Olie Kolzig probably will continue.
* This year's draft, in which the Capitals are considering 10 players for their first-round selections, the 15th (from St. Louis) and 16th.