Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Wise of The Washington Post,
Ted Leonsis, guilty of believing this seriously flawed roster could be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
George McPhee, guilty the past seven years of not being able to put together a coaching staff and roster capable of getting past the second round of the playoffs — despite building around one of the greatest offensive talents in NHL history.
Adam Oates, guilty of employing more odd-line combinations the past month than the makers of Master Lock, guilty of coaching a team that gave up 13 two-goal leads, a team that rested on its laurels routinely after it scored and never developed a consistent identity — really, a mentally soft team that inexplicably has yet to win a game under Oates when scoring two or fewer goals.
And Ovechkin, inferior linemates and all, guilty of one of the most meaningless 50-goal seasons in NHL annals. With the Caps’ playoff hopes in the balance, the captain failed to score an even-strength goal in 15 straight, gotta-have-it games.
from Ted Leonsis of Ted's Take,
Before the Capitals season started, I was quoted as saying I didn’t see any weakness in our lineup. While I knew some aspects of our team were stronger than others, I didn’t see anything that I believed was a specific weakness. Obviously I was wrong.
I still believe it is good business practice to avoid snap decisions, and I want to conduct a comprehensive review of what transpired this year, listen to appropriate voices and then determine what steps are necessary to ensure the Capitals return to the playoffs and compete for a Stanley Cup.
Our fans and community expected much more when this season began, and I’m sorry we couldn’t deliver on those expectations.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Winnipeg Free Press,
The agent for Jaroslav Halak released a statement Wednesday saying his client never told Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates that he did not want to start against the St. Louis Blues, his former team.
Oates told reporters in St. Louis on Tuesday that Halak "wasn't 100 per cent comfortable" starting against the Blues, who sent him to the Buffalo Sabres in the Feb. 28 trade that got them Ryan Miller. Halak was then traded before the deadline to the Capitals.
"Jaro never at any time said he didn't want to start against St. Louis," agent Allan Walsh said in a statement sent to The Canadian Press. "A private conversation between a player and coach should stay private and not be discussed with the media.
"I am bewildered that a coach would break that trust especially when those comments the coach publicly attributed to Jaro are not accurate. It's the coach who makes the decision on who plays in the games, not the players."
Halak told reporters from the Washington Post and NHL.com after the Capitals' morning skate at Scottrade Center that the incident is still too "fresh."
This is the 5th season of 50 or more goals for Ovechkin.
Yesterday at Capitals Insider, they had this on Halak..
Halak couldn’t hide the trade that sent him from the Blues to last-place Buffalo on Feb. 28 for Ryan Miller — six days later, the Sabres then traded Halak again to Washington — has not yet been forgotten. He admitted Monday to having “mixed emotions” about the first encounter with his former teammates.
“It’s still fresh. I play there for four years. I know these guys,” Halak said. “We’ll see whether I play or not, but obviously I’m looking forward to go back there.”
The 2013-14 NHL Regular Season wraps up this Sunday.
Remaining games left for teams in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race...
Detroit- at Buffalo on Tuesday, at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Carolina at Detroit on Friday and at St. Louis on Sunday.
Columbus- Phoenix at Columbus on Tuesday, at Dallas on Wednesday, at Tampa Bay on Friday and at Florida on Saturday.
New Jersey- Calgary at New Jersey tonight, at Ottawa on Thursday, NYI at New Jersey on Friday and Boston at New Jersey on Sunday.
Toronto- at Tampa Bay on Tuesday, at Florida on Thursday and at Ottawa on Saturday.
Washington- at St. Louis on Tuesday, at Carolina on Thursday, Chicago at Washington on Friday and Tampa Bay at Washington on Sunday.
At this point int time, do you care to make a prediction? What teams take the two wild card spots and in what order?
If you missed the play, watch it below with Adam Ward of TSN breaking it down...
added 1:34pm, from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,
“To be honest with you I didn’t see him, I kind of lost the position. It is what it is,” Ovechkin said. “We make lots of mistakes, it’s not about one mistake. You can’t blame one mistake in the whole game.”
That’s not an encouraging message from the face of the franchise, especially when the franchise in question might miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07. But little about the last two weeks has been encouraging for the Capitals, who have lost four straight since returning from their California trip and are close to being eliminated from playoff contention.
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...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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