Photo credit: La Presse
During last night’s home opener the Washington Capitals struggled in their second straight game, falling meekly to the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 4-2. After somewhat high expectations entering the season, the Caps have now been outscored 10-5 by the opposition and faltered in many aspects of the game.
New Capitals head coach Adam Oates has responded by benching several players, most notably first line winger Marcus Johansson. The former first round pick saw only 50 seconds of ice time in the third period. Also in Oates’ dog house is 25-year-old center Mathieu Perreault.
Through the first two games of the season, Perreault, coming off a career-best year during which he tallied 16 goals and 30 points, has seen 3:52 of ice time against the Lightning and 4:58 against the Jets. After last night’s game the diminutive fourth-line forward, frustrated about his limited role, opened up to Marc Antoine Godin of the French-language website La Presse.
“Whomever the coach is, every year it is the same story, and the GM doesn’t seem willing to change anything,” Perreault told Godin as translated by friend-of-the-blog Lindsey Novak. “Trade me if I am not part of your plans.”
“It’s hard on my morale,” Perreault continued. “I try to stay positive, but I do not want to endure it for two more years.”
Perreault, who played for IFK Helsinki of the Finnish SM-liiga during the lockout, received more than 20 minutes of ice time per game overseas. “I come back and it’s not like I’m even part of the team,” said Perreault. “I’m just asking for a little more ice time.”
Oates, for that matter, seems open to doing so if the opportunity is right.
“I would say he’s played pretty good,” Oates told reporters Wednesday morning after an optional skate. “I think he’s a good player and I’m still learning him. The better he plays, the more he stands out, the more he’ll play.”
With the team playing from behind so much early on in the year, Oates explained that he has primarily focused on getting the top two scoring lines out on the ice.
When pressed on Perreault’s limited role, Oates responded: “You gotta look at the guys in front of him. I can’t put him in front of Mike Ribeiro or Nick Backstrom so he’s going to just have to wait his turn, do the little things, and keep improving his game. If I can find him minutes, I’ll definitely do that.”
Meanwhile Perreault, who says that these are the fewest minutes he’s played in his career, will try to stay optimistic and wait for an opportunity. If the Caps can actually hold a lead, that might happen.
Thanks to HFBoards’ member Marc the Habs Fan for first posting. Translation by Lindsey Novak.