Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/03/14 at 07:58 AM ET
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?
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