The Washington Capitals are getting rid of Brendan Leipsic after the journeyman winger’s Instagram messages were leaked this week, chock full of misogyny, gripes about current and former teammates, and “love” of “coke.”
While it’s tempting to take this as a positive sign of hockey finally taking the sport’s toxic culture seriously and holding someone accountable for his actions, the Capitals kicking Leipsic to the curb really isn’t that. Instead, it’s the case of a team finding an opportunity for good PR while making a sensible hockey move.
Leipsic was making $700,000, the NHL minimum, and was set to become an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent after the season. He hadn’t scored a goal since Nov. 27, hadn’t registered an assist since Jan. 27, and hadn’t played since Feb. 23, when Washington traded for Ilya Kovalchuk.
Even when Leipsic did play this season, he only averaged 9:10 a game. He was on his way out of D.C. — just as he had previously exited Toronto, Vegas, Vancouver, and Los Angeles — before the world learned he was just as big a piece of garbage off the ice as he was on it.
Did the Capitals have any interest in bringing a player back to their locker room who had called his teammates “fucking losers,” just so that he could practice with them and then put on a suit and watch games from the press box as a healthy scratch? Of course not.
If the group chats of a sizable percentage of NHL players became public, you’d probably see a lot of the same stuff that was in Leipsic’s messages. Too bad for Leipsic that not only were his DMs leaked, but he was expendable.
This is still a sport where Patrick Kane is one of the faces of the game and Bill Peters can get a head coaching job in the world’s second-best league just a few months after resigning from the Calgary Flames because they were too cowardly to fire him.
If a hockey team thinks you can help them win, it still doesn’t matter what you do or say. The problem for Brendan Leipsic is that he couldn’t help the Capitals win.