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There’s Hope In Washington

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Considering the depth of the change Oates is undertaking, it is easy to believe him when he insists progress is being made despite being in last place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.

After beating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 last Friday for their second win of the season, the Caps played well enough against the powerful Pittsburgh Penguins but lost 6-3 on Sunday. They will get a chance to show they are on the right track Tuesday night against a team more in their weight class, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Capitals may be last place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference less than two years after finishing first but what Oates is doing is necessary – the star system that allowed Ovechkin to do as he pleased was doomed in a league where coaches and systems are king. While Ovechkin enjoyed three consecutive seasons of 50 goals or more, the Capitals were tearing up the regular season as well, culminating with 54 wins and the Presidents’ Trophy for finishing first overall in 2009-10. But when the other teams got serious about checking in the playoffs, Ovechkin was easily shut down and the Caps were gone in the first or second round.

Hence the arrival of Oates toting the anti-star defensive system he learned as an assistant coach with the quintessential team-first franchise, the New Jersey Devils. He summed up his philosophy the other day when someone asked how Ovechkin was going to score amid his increased defensive expectations.


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


Evilpens's avatar

HUH???????????? Played well enough against the Pens??  the have 3 goals, 1 was a weird bounce of the glass goal

Posted by Evilpens on 02/05/13 at 05:00 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

OV has not been the same since that story broke about a guy in Wash. D.C. area getting busted for Steroids [

Posted by Evilpens on 02/05/13 at 05:05 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Posted by Evilpens on 02/05/13 at 05:06 PM ET


Give Oates time.  This mini season will prove nothing.  The important thing is to squeak into the playoffs.  Anyone of 16 teams could win this season.

Posted by 13 user names on 02/06/13 at 01:54 AM ET

Thag's avatar

Amazing how Penguins fans are so jealous of Washington.  I never could figure that one out…

Posted by Thag from DC on 02/06/13 at 10:15 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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