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Now What Washington?

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?


Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink


TreKronor's avatar

I just have a hard time blaming coaching when there appear to be some serious leadership deficiencies amongst the players.

Posted by TreKronor on 04/03/14 at 09:16 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Alex Ovechkin had exactly ZERO even-strength points in all of March.
When you’re finished digesting that, you’ll know why the Caps will never win the Cup.

He’s the worst leader imaginable and so completely one-dimensional he could slip through a crack in the floor if he turned sideways.

I’d love to see what kind of player Ovie could have been if he had a Pronger, Yzerman or Messier in his lockeroom.

Posted by Hank1974 on 04/03/14 at 10:27 AM ET

Savage Henry's avatar

Washington’s weaknesses were covered up (in the regular season, anyway) by their old division.  Now that they’re not in a division with a collection of perennially weak teams, they’re exposed.

Posted by Savage Henry on 04/03/14 at 10:38 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

Life sucks now that you can’t bottom feed all the time, eh Washington?

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/03/14 at 10:52 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Dear Caps,

Love your body of work lately.

All the best,

Red Wings Fans

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 04/03/14 at 11:35 AM ET

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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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