Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,
Meeting with reporters on Thursday, Oates did not backtrack on Wednesday’s description of Alex Ovechkin quitting on a play that led to a goal by Dustin Jeffrey in Tuesday night’s 5-0 loss to the Stars.
The bigger issue, Oates said, is that his 28-year-old captain recognizes his shortcomings and addresses them.
“I didn’t talk to him yet about that particular play,” Oates said. “We will. The message is the same message I tell him all the time.
“It’s a shame because he actually pushed hard up the ice [into the offensive zone] and I’m sure when he turned around he saw we had three guys back and figured they’d get the job done and they didn’t.”
FYI, Ovechkin did not meet with the media today.
added 3:42pm, Aaron Ward of TSN breaks down the latest Ovechkin mistake, watch it below too...
added 3:33pm, from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
from Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post,
Somehow, during those years of postseason berths, the playoffs became a birthright here. Given Alex Ovechkin’s presence at the center of a once-young, on-the-rise core, that’s not unreasonable. McPhee believes that core, when healthy, could contend for the Stanley Cup. Leonsis said before this season he didn’t “see any weaknesses” with the team.
So follow that line of thinking. Does that mean the problem is with Adam Oates, who has yet to complete one full season as head coach? Oates’s mantra has been to treat players like he wanted to be treated during his own Hall of Fame playing career, with respect and positive reinforcement. He isn’t changing that now.
“The one big thing is someone will say, ‘You need to yell at them,’ right?” Oates said after a somber practice Wednesday. “I don’t see Bill Belichick yell. Now that doesn’t mean he can’t yell with his eyes, right? Or his face, his mood. That’s all part of respect, no question. Everybody says that until they’re the one yelled at.”
But fans would argue that there’s nothing positive to reinforce, so Oates needs to yell. If he’s unwilling, then off he goes.
Continue following that line of thinking, though. Leonsis keeps McPhee, but McPhee fires Oates. Don’t discount this, because there are indications of fissures in that relationship, subtle and otherwise. As a player, Oates was never afraid of playing the squeaky wheel. Could he be that way as a coach?
from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,
Alex Ovechkin has received criticism for his absentee defensive play throughout his nine-year NHL career and in the third period of a blowout loss against the Dallas Stars Tuesday night he offered more fuel for his detractors.
At the midway point of the period, Stars veteran Ray Whitney chipped the puck through the neutral zone up to Alex Chiasson, who raced into the Washington end. As the play moved toward the Washington net, though, Ovechkin glided near the offensive blueline, slowly moving up toward the red line and then completely missed Whitney as he cut in front of him to drive down the slot.
It wasn’t until Whitney passed him that Ovechkin took a full stride, even then it was only two steps before he coasted again.
continued with quotes from Oates and video of the goal or watch the video, with evidence, below...
“There was zero urgency, if I was a fan, I’d be booing us right now. Playoff race like we’re in, we lose 5-0. It’s awful. There’s no words for it.”
-Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals. More on their loss to the Dallas Stars by Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider.
from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,
That Clune, an experienced fighter, took on an inexperienced player who has barely any track record with fisticuffs didn’t sit well with some of the Capitals even though they acknowledged Wey wasn’t ambushed into fighting.
“They had a little tangle before the fight and they were talking to each other a bit and Weysie seemed to be a willing combatant,” Troy Brouwer said. “But at the same point guys who are known to be fighters, they have to have enough respect to pick their spots to know when guys are able to fight fighters.”
Said Oates: “I’m surprised the guy would do that but they had contact, they kind of looked each other in the eye and Patrick also didn’t back down. Got to give him credit for that.”
more including Oates saying it appears Wey will be okay. No concussion test was given last night but he did not return to the game..
Watch the fight below...
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
If the Capitals fall short of bringing Leonsis at least two profitable home postseason series this year, he might have little choice but to start over with a new front office. I’m not endorsing McPhee’s firing, especially just to appease angry fans.
I am saying 16 years is an incredibly long time to run a pro team. Outside the NHL, just Pat Riley with the Miami Heat and Brian Sabean of the San Francisco Giants (two more GMs with titles) have more tenure with one franchise than McPhee in all major North American sports.
Here’s hoping this underwhelming roster battling pulls and assorted pains can siphon a magical run that lasts into late May. Otherwise, the data and metrics are there in plain sight. This team will not be closer to a Cup now than it was three, four, even two years ago.
And if McPhee is finally jettisoned, the irony will be cruel. He will have lost his job in part because he could never acquire enough mentally tough, give-no-quarter players, guys like a former, scrap-till-he-dropped Ranger and Devil named . . . George McPhee.
Hot seat or no, that burns just thinking about it.
Before last night's win in Anaheim,(Caps had 2 PP and one was the game winner from Ovechkin), here are their recent power play stats via Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington,
The Capitals are 12 for 31 [38.7 percent] on the power play in their last 10 games and have scored a power-play goal in four of their last five games.
Washington scored two power-play goals on Sunday against Toronto, marking the 17th time this season the Caps have scored two or more power-play goals in a game. Washington is 13-3-1 this season when scoring two or more power-play goals in a game.
The Caps rank second in the NHL on the power play at 23.7 percent.
So how do you stop it? Do you key on Ovechkin and leave others open or do you just play a standard penalty kill and hope for the best?
Below, watch Ovechkin's game winning power play goal against the Ducks last night.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
If Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals want to qualify for the NHL playoffs, today’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (3 p.m., ET) feels like a must-win game.
The hard reality for the Capitals is that they probably need to go 11-3 in their final 14 games and finish with 94 points to have a shot at the postseason.
That would require ‘A’ work from a team playing at a ‘C’ level. The Caps are 5-4-1 in their last 10.
It would be an Everest-like climb for the Capitals to reach 94 points. After tackling Toronto, they face the Murderer’s Row California run of Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.
Then they return to Washington to face the Kings again, plus the Boston Bruins. They need four wins, or at least seven points in those five games, and it is not implausible that they could end up with two to four points.
TORONTO/WASHINGTON (March 14, 2014) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) released the following statements regarding today’s decision by the IOC:
Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director:
“We are certainly pleased that Nicklas Backstrom’s name has been cleared by the IOC ruling, allowing him to receive the silver medal that he earned with his Swedish teammates. The decision by the IOC Disciplinary Commission makes it clear that Nicklas was open and cooperative throughout the process and had clearly disclosed on his doping control form the Zyrtec-D medication he had been taking for his allergies. Moreover, it is also welcome that the decision makes clear that Nicklas had both requested and received specific advice from the Swedish Chief Medical Officer that the allergy medication he was taking would not give rise to an adverse analytical finding. Backstrom did nothing inappropriate, but merely asked for and followed medical advice from his team doctor.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have agreed to terms with forward Evgeny Kuznetsov on an entry-level contract beginning this season, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.
Kuznetsov, 21, played in 31 games with Chelyabinsk Traktor of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) this season, recording 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) and 12 penalty minutes. The 6’3”, 200-pound center ranks fourth on the team in points and assists. Kuznetsov led Chelyabinsk in scoring in each season from 2010-13 and finished tied for sixth in the league in scoring (44 points) last season. Kuznetsov was named to the KHL All-Star game in 2012.
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