adam-oates--bench

Photo credit: Brace Hemmelgarn

The Caps need points. They didn’t get them tonight. After a moral victory against the Penguins, Washington dropped Friday’s game against Columbus in pathetic fashion. Despite picking up two points in the process, the Caps have lost four straight games. With six of the next seven games on the road, the upcoming stretch won’t get easier.

“It’s very frustrating,” head coach Adam Oates told reporters after the loss. “You just can’t let a game get away and be that easy. You just can’t. It’s not right.”

While the team had been playing well coming into Friday’s game, Oates took a hatchet to the lines in Columbus. Afterwards, he criticized his team for being “mentally not ready,” repeating the theme countless times during his five minute presser. Specifically, he said mistakes doomed them against the Jackets. It was the usual stuff, like poor defensive decisions and stupid penalties. Friday’s game started to come off the rails when rookie forth-liner Tom Wilson took a reckless roughing penalty to negate a Capitals power play midway through the opening frame.

“It’s a dumb mistake,” Oates said. “Everybody makes them. He made one there. We have to not make them.”

Oates benched Wilson late, but by then the game was already out of hand. The Caps allowed a late goal in the first period and another one early in the second. After less than 22 minutes, the coach pulled Philipp Grubauer.

“I felt sorry for him,” the coach said. “That’s not on him, that’s on all of us.”

With Braden Holtby in net, the team didn’t respond any better. In the end, Washington finished with a 5-1 loss.

“You just can’t play like that,” Oates concluded. “It’s bad hockey.”

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  • Rob W.

    I completely agree its all mental and a lack of discipline. Who do we put the blame on though? i feel like someone has to start ripping into these guys when they mess up

  • OVECHKING

    Hey Oates, maybe you outta go into the lockerroom once in a while and tell the players how you actually feel. For example, tell them they played like S***… oh wait, you are afraid they might think you are an “amateur”…

    Well, no one THINKS you are an amateur, we all know you are an amateur coach .

    The Oates plays favorites with certain players on this team has caused lockerroom turmoil and dissension. Players will soon start tuning him out. And, like his predesseors, he will be yet another rookie inexperienced coach to get fired.

    Hoping the caps keep losing. At least it guarantees that Mcphee gets released and told to walk. Hopefully, if Leonsis hires Gretzky or someone else as Pres of Hockey ops… they will fix this sinking ship. Otherwise, trade Ovi to Detroit.

  • OVECHKING

    Lack of discipline is totally on the coach. This oates fella has no clue what he is doing behind the bench.

  • Jeff Yoders

    Oates’ goalie rotation and weird scratches are killing the team. Even Neuvy is disenfranchised these days. No wonder guys like Holtby and Erat don’t want to play for Oates.

  • Jack Conness

    These players need someone to light a fire beneath them. And a coach who can play some lines that can actually compete and produce.

  • Dark Stranger

    Neuvy’s been beyond disenfranchised. Usually a healthy scratch — except on the occasions Gru needed a breather. While Holtby has rarely played, as of late.

  • Dark Stranger

    I don’t think hiring Gretzky would be the answer. He didn’t really work out as Owner/Coach for Phoenix a few years ago.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    ..

  • OVECHKING

    Hiring Gretzky is not the answer. IMO its just a PR move by Ted. But it would get Mcphee and the rest of the front office and coaching staff out of town. He might be able to bring in some people who actually know a thing or two about hockey. That, imo, is glass half full for this franchise.

  • OVECHKING

    maybe a gm too. One who does not need at least 17 years and a generational talent to “try” and build a championship team and fail.

  • OVECHKING

    BTW, EXCELLENT comment on the post game thread. I found it hilarious there were some “ROCK THE RED” crowd who’s only response to your comment was “Go cheer for the ducks then”. Just goes to show how many delusional fans this franchise has. They only know what they see on tv and read in the box score… hell, I dont even think they watch the games attentively.

  • OVECHKING

    and btw, this Gretzky talk is not just some out from left field rumor. There have been numerous sources that have leaked info that Gretz wants back into the game. His choices are down to two teams, Caps and Kings.

  • OVECHKING

    “..”
    That’s probably what oates did when he walked into the lockerroom post game. Nothing to say. Didn’t want to “disrespect” the players or “make them think he is an amateur”.

    (for the people that don’t get this “amateur” joke, go read the oates interview Chuck Gormely did yesterday on CSNwashington.com. Its freaking hilarious.

  • kemiisto

    Oates’ system works in the same way as a PC infected by viruses. I mean, it does not work. It should be reinstalled or at least cured by antivirus codenamed “Gretzky”.

  • OVECHKING

    Headline over at WashingtonPost

    Tom Wilson’s unnecessary penalty costs Capitals in ugly loss
    —————————

    This is exactly why no one takes this franchise seriously. Katie Carerra once again shows either
    1) she is a sock puppet for Ted Leonsis
    2) Doesn’t know S*** about hockey

    Not only is this franchise crappy, the major media outlets have crappy reporters who are afraid to ask the “tough questions” because they are too worried about their “lockerroom access”. I don’t know how some of these people sleep at night lying and decieving their audience. Disgusting.

  • kemiisto

    Well, she is not that bad. Or do you want someone similar to Don Cherry? :-D

  • OVECHKING

    lol. I want ANY reporter that covers the leafs or Habs in this town. Someone who doesn’t give a f*** and actually knows what he is talking about.

  • OVECHKING

    Its the job of the media to hold the franchise accountable because they act as the medium of communication between the franchise / organization and its fans. If the media is not honest and does not hold the players / team accountable, the fans message is lost. This has a continuous roll on effect and then eventually you get half the fans for a sports team who blindly follow certain publications and have no idea what they are talking about. Incapable of rational though regarding hockey.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Ovechking, She knows a ton about hockey. Can you maybe tone it down a little? This kind of stuff is unnecessary and over-the-top: “I don’t know how some of these people sleep at night lying and decieving their audience. Disgusting.”

  • OVECHKING

    When was the last time a reporter in this town asked some real questions to the coaching staff or GM? I’ve been reading Katie’s stuff for 4-5 years now, i’m not convinced she knows “a ton about hockey”. She knows enough to pass as a reporter in a non hockey market.

    But yes, I will end “my rant”

  • bskillet

    Countless line changes, defensive pairings, THREE goalies with none knowing what’s happening from one game to the next, bring one up from Hershey, send one down to Hershey, turn left-turn right?? No direction, it will be good to see McPhee leave(fingers crossed) and Oates try somewhere else. The Caps need a GM that wants the Cup and nothing more and an more experienced head coach.

  • kemiisto

    “It’s a dumb mistake,” Oates said. “Everybody makes them. He made one there. We have to not make them.”

    No. Totally wrong logic. People do mistakes (hockey players take penalties), so an emphasis should be on making a system stable against human mistakes (good PK teams). Limiting mistakes is also important, but “We have to not make them” slogan is unrealisable.

  • OVECHKING

    If they sent a goalie down to hershy, that would actually make things better. Having 3 goalies on the roster for over 3 weeks now has prevent a guy like Michael Latta (who is playing GREAT hockey w/ bears) from being on this team.

  • kemiisto

    It not only about GM. It also about the owner and fans. How many times I’ve seen claim, that the problem is that Ted is fine with mediocrity. But a lot of Caps fans are also fine with that.

  • OVECHKING

    ding, ding, ding ding ding

  • OVECHKING

    Funny he criticizes the player but not his PK system which is utter crap. His strategy for defending the 4on3 was one of the worst I have seen in a while.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    You are entitled to your opinion and I’m appreciative of you commenting. All I’m saying is taking a deep breath.

    Also, I don’t think taking pot shots at the media, who in reality work their butts off to serve you guys, deserve this kind of disrespect.

  • OVECHKING

    That’s a fair comment. But why have such a sensationalist headline like that? What purpose does that serve? What is the background reasoning to publish such a thing? Is it to deflect attention away from the Caps poor PK? Poor coaching? Poor roster depth? Locker room dissention? Goalie Controversy? To trick readers into thinking the game was lost on a single penalty kill?

    These are, imo, valid question regarding that headline.

    Once again, I appreciate you folks giving me the opportunity to comment here. There is a reason I am here and not at Washingtonpost any more. I was compelled to post a comment after reading tonight’s headline but through better judgment, I just ignored it.

  • Unofficial Capital

    We need a change in the organisation, it being a new gm or whatever, maybe e just a trade. I like Oates and I like this team but it’s time for a change.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Why do you think the headline is sensationalist? Not attacking, just wondering.

    I think you could reasonably point to Wilson’s penalty and the goal Columbus eventually scored on the power play as being the turning point of the game. It was also a topic Oates focused on during his post-game comments.

    Also, headlines should be interesting – if not, it stifles discussion and interest. You have to create a fair and reasonable urgency for people to want to read what you’ve written.

  • Barrett

    I don’t know what the hell Adam Oates is doing.

    1. You don’t separate Backstrom and Ovechkin, ever.
    2. You don’t break up the Chimera, Grabovski, Ward line. I like yelling Ice Cheetah and I haven’t done that enough since early in the year.
    3. Orlov should have been the first man up after injuries to Jack Hillen and Tomas Kundratek, not Schmidt and not Carrick.

    4. Erskine is a decent defenseman, but he’s a seven or eight guy, not a five (His hands are tied here with injuries and GMGM’s inability to put decent talent on the blue line). He’s a perfect substitute for a matchup like Toronto.
    5. Play Binky.

    6. Bench Volpatti.

    7. I like Grubimonster, but he shouldn’t be receiving the playing time. Holtby and
    Neuvirth need to be in net (some Kolzig Germanic influence here??).
    8. Thanks for fixing the power play, but the 5v5 play and PK are terrible.

    9. He consistently looks to be out-coached in every matchup.

    Tossing out some line combinations :

    Erat – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Laich – Johannson – Fehr
    Chimera – Grabovski – Ward
    Latta – Beagle – Brouwer

    Alzner – Carlson
    Orlov – Green
    Erskine – Oleksy

  • OVECHKING

    First off, I do not find anyone’s comment on the internet as “attacking” or “offensive”. Its the internet. You need to have thick skin to engage in a forum of discussion.

    Again, are penalties not taken in first periods of any other games? Some that are just as “careless” as the one Wilson committed? If Grabo or Backstrom (who has been pretty horrible in all ends of the ice last 3-4 games) committed a selfish “semin” penalty in the ozone that resulted in a goal, would we see the same type of headline in a 3-2 loss let alone a 5-1 loss?

    How can someone point to a singular moment in a game like that as the major reason why the caps lost? How can a “turning point” occur in the first period? Is this team made up of a bunch of fragile minded unprofessional athletes who can’t handle being down 1-0? That’s completely unreasonable to think that was a turning point. We will have to agree to disagree on this.

    Finally, If oates focused in on this penalty in his post game thoughts, it should be the duty of the reporters in that room to question why he thinks a first period penalty was a major contributor to a 5-1 loss. They should also question why the caps penalty killing, which was 1st after a month into the season but now has been among the league’s 5-7 worst since then.

  • OVECHKING

    Disagree on first two points.
    For the few games fehr Grabo and Ovi played together, ovechkin generated more even strength chances then he did 2 months playing with Backstrom and Marcus Johansson. Ovechkin and Backstrom need to be split. Come playoff time, that’s the only way this team finds success. For some reason, when Backstorm is playing with Ovi, he doesn’t shoot. This is something that can be identified going back two seasons. That line is a singular threat and backstrom is not being utilized as effectively as he should be. Ovechkin can play with anyone.

    Point 2, Grabo is not a 3rd line forward. Chimmer and Ward will never log top 6 mintues. How can you have grabo log 3rd line minutes with them and expect this team to be productive at even strength? Who is playing 2C? Marcus Johansson with Brook Laich as his winger? LOLOLOL… that would be the WORST second line in the NHL.

    The best line combinations the caps can have are.

    Fehr – Grabo – Ovechkin
    Erat – Backstrom – Wilson
    Chimmer – Majo – Ward (they were playing great with Majo at pivot)
    Volpatti – Latta – Brouwer/Laich (trade one)

  • Barrett

    The number of minutes doesn’t matter. What matters is when Chimera, Grabovski and Ward were playing together on the 3rd line they were outplaying their opponents, controlling the 5v5 play and putting pucks in the net. Putting pucks in the net wins games.

    Oates will never put Fehr on the left wing, he’s a right handed shot and he isn’t a top line guy.

    I don’t know where you get this notion that Backstrom shoots more when separated from Ovechkin….he’s averaged just over 2 shots per game this season and over the last five games hasn’t logged more than 3.

    Putting Tom Wilson on the 2nd line and Volpatti in the lineup period makes no sense.

    There is no way they trade Brouwer or Laich and even if they do they aren’t getting anything valuable in return. Nobody wants Troy Brouwer’s $3.6mil salary for the next 2-1/2 years or Brooks Laich’s $4.5mil salary for the next 3-1/2 years for under performing players.

  • bskillet

    Agreed, I didn’t mean sending the goalies back and forth I’m talking about mostly dmen but offensive players too and switching lines every game. I think it’s much better knowing who’s on your left and right or in the middle consistently?

  • alchemistmuffin

    The go on cheer the Leafs then. Stop trolling the comment section, and comment like you know everything. I read your comments and all I hear from you is whining and complaining. If you think you can be a better beat reporter, then why not work for a Washington Post or Bleacher Repory for all I care.

    But, as a logical person, please stop trolling the site.

  • kemiisto

    Niels Bohr (a Danish physicist, one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics) was very polite and one of his favourite euphemisms was ‘is probably not quite right’. Werner Heisenberg (who also was one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics) was not so polite, so once while attacking Schrödinger views he said: “What Schrödinger writes about the visualizability of his theory ‘is probably not quite right,’ in other words it’s crap.”

    So, taking into account that Oates is also a very polite person, one should read his ‘It is not right’ in the Heisenberg way. Which are good news: he understand the current situation.

  • abc

    Really? site that.

  • johnnymorte

    You’re wrong about Oates. Despite being a “rookie” coach, he spent 25 years in the league as a player and was an assistant with Tampa and the NJD. I’m going to take a wild guess here, but I think he knows a thing or two about the game. A man can only work with what he has. You can thank GMGM for this mess. Ted, you’re maxed out on salary and your team is struggling on a night to night basis? What will it take to fire this idiot? A last place finish? We don’t have enough buyouts to fix this mess.

  • Eric Schulz

    In GMGM’s defense, he DID build a championship caliber team. We were the best team in the league for a good 3- to 4-year stretch, we just didn’t get the breaks. Happens sometimes.
    On the other hand… everything else GMGM has done. Instead of trusting that team, he bought into the small sample size (obviously, the playoffs are incredible important, but you can’t make moves based on a 10 game sample size and completely ignore the 82 games prior… especially if your evaluation is “we have too much talent, lets let Semin walk, and focus on adding grit at forward. Also, our blueline and netminding situations are just perfect.”

  • Eric Schulz

    Do you not follow any team other than the Capitals? When was the last time ANYBODY asked a good question about a team. EVERY reporter is either overly deferential, or stupid. It’s a bit disingenuous to attack the reporters for the Caps for that, as if that has any impact on the team. Everybody does it, and some teams are good, some aren’t; it has nothing to do with the coverage.

  • Eric Schulz

    Seriously, you just cited the LEAFS’ reporters as being good. Um, they are the poster boys for how to conduct yourself without asking any good questions. They are the very definition of deferential. Every time I read your comments, I become more and more convinced that you are either an idiot, or a moron.

  • B. Jasper

    If I may offer a few suggestions, we all know that Oates’ “hybrid” system is suppose to be a mix between Boudreau’s firewagon style with Hunter’s defense first mentality. In theory that is a balanced team would be great, however, the Caps do not have the right personnel. For a “hybrid” system you need either pure speed/scorers to learn how to play defense better or physical defensive minded players to speed up their game. Not mixing and matching your lines with the two styles. Luckily, the majority of the roster is made up of young, speedy, players that can transition from offense to defense quickly and build up their shooting skills. So dump all the older, slower, players, and for god’s sake enough dump ‘n’ chase and over-cycling. With skilled and talented players, there is no need to dump the puck in so often.
    There are five basic rules for the revamped system.
    1. With the game or the fight or both.
    2. Don’t listen to Don Cherry.
    3. Score, Score, and Score.
    4. Always play through through the whistle.
    5. No one crashes the net or plays more physical than everyone else.
    and the unwritten rule: DEMOLISH PITTSBURGH.
    (As a disclaimer: I’m not a hockey expert, I just looked at past video a had some ideas on what may work and disgruntled Caps fans.)

  • Jack Conness

    Thanks man. It is just frustrating seeing these guys lose. I hate seeing Ovi’s prime years go to waste too.

  • serpent

    The “rant” is a little over the top, but I see where Ovechking is coming from. The headline sounds as if Wilson’s penalty was the major reason for the loss. Since this game was a total clown act on the Cap’s part, it is an unfortunate headline ,to say the least. I read Ms.Carerra,too, and often agree with her analysis. This time she blew it.

  • Ben Reed

    Troll so hard.

  • harjot singh

    I think you should take her job a go to journalism school. I wouldn’t see to much of an improvement after reading your comments. I have also seen you write stupid comments on every CSN story that Chuck rights.

  • Dep

    I live in Toronto and I can say that the media here is more harsh and questions every move made by the team more than any other NHL city.

    “Go cheer for the Leafs then,” what a pussy answer. Since when did comparing a team’s media make someone a fan of the other team?

    Oh yeah, one last thing. I’m a Caps fan and always will be one, but I find it funny that the writers on this site always take cheap shots at the Leafs whenever they can. Hey, you know what’s sad, at the moment they’re in a better position in the standings than we are. And whether the signings of players like Bozak or Clarkson were good or not, the Leafs in a short time are almost at our level in terms of development and putting together a decent team.

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    Does anybody honestly know if Oatesy is aggressive enough with this team. I mean the line shuffles yes, but in the locker room with the occasional expletives to address the critical situation at hand. Maybe we need more of this guy :)

  • OVECHKING

    What I find funny is none of the moderators have come on here and deleted this 12 year old Eric Schulz’s post. It is below me to respond to someone who calls other people “morons” because they are in disagreement with an opinion.

    They served me with a notice a week ago for a “disagreement” I had with a poster and told me to review the TOCs and posting policy. I don’t even think I called anyone a troll or a moron.

    These folks can keep “ROCKING THE RED”, we can just continue laughing at them.

  • alchemistmuffin

    If the Leafs are supposed to be better than us with the same amount of talent, then explain why Leafs are not currently in the top 3 team in the Atlantic Division? Also, explain why most Leafs are currently not happy with the situation the team is in. And what about Grabovski? If they are supposed to be building a decent team in short amount of time, then why in the heck did they decide to let Grabovski go against his wishes?

  • Pat Magee

    Peter Laviolette is still available!!!! Relegate Oates to assistant for his powerplay abilities and nothing else.

    Seriously, kids on NHL 14 playing be a GM mode have better lineup management.

  • Pat Magee

    Sounds like some Eklund BS

  • OVECHKING

    Please let me know when Eklund posts this “rumor”

  • Matt McNeely

    You need to talk yourself down a little. The team is bad. We get that. You’re taking it out on the internet comments section. Fine to an extent, as long as you have intelligent things to say, which you have up until this point. But, dude… take a minute to think before you go full Hulk Mode and just start indiscriminately smashing everything because the Caps lost again. The media isn’t the problem. The Caps are. This isn’t even a “sensationalist” headline… it’s factual. Tom Wilson’s unnecessary penalty was in fact a costly mistake in an ugly loss. And besides, headlines are supposed to be worded to attract attention. That’s kind of the point.

  • ZyphZorg

    I gave the team a rare ZyphZorg “pat on the back after a loss” after the penguins game.
    Good performance despite 5 games in 7 days.

    At this point in the season it’s still more about how they play than wins or losses to me. When a team is physically and mentally tired you see what they’re made of. This is an opportunity for growth if Oates handles it correctly. And we have to hope/expect Oates is growing too.

  • kemiisto

    Guy Boucher is the second option. But I also prefer Laviolette: 2 appearances in Stanley Cup Finals and 1 Cup is what I call ‘experience’.

  • Pat Magee

    He actually DID say something about the great one…. Being the GM for the Rangers.

  • OVECHKING

    Did you not read my comment below? How can you call a first period penalty that put the team down 1-0 in a game as “a major contributer to the team’s loss” as “factual”. Its far from that.

  • isellbrakepads

    He’s pretty much the next mike keenan

  • Jared

    Can we talk about these new lines??

    Johansson-Backstrom-Ovechkin
    Chimera-Grabovski-Brouwer
    Erat-Laich-Ward
    Volpatti-Beagle-Fehr/Wilson

    What is wrong with Oates? Why can’t he construct a logical top six like this:

    Johansson-Backstrom-Ovechkin
    Erat-Grabovski-Fehr

    I actually want to know, because the logic behind his lines escapes me.

  • Dan

    I guess I don’t even understand Ovechking’s problem with this. The article itself states that none of the Caps are immune from criticism, and that Wilson’s penalty was just the “earliest” of the costly mistakes made by the Caps. Seems like nothing in the article suggested that Wilson’s mistake was responsible for the Caps’ loss. Isn’t that exactly your point?

  • Alistair Cookie

    You must not have noticed that Fehr has been playing on the left wing both with Ovechkin and with Brouwer

  • Barrett

    Actually, you’re right. I do recall seeing him on the top line LW with Grabovski and Ovechkin in his 2 goal game against the Lighting.

    I still don’t think he’s a top line winger, better suited to take Brouwer’s current RW spot on the 2nd line.

    Oates is in a jamb here, he’s short on left-handed shots to play left wing. He really only has Chimera and now Laich that he’s back from injury, because he hates Erat in the top six for some reason.