Photo: Rob Carr
Now that the Washington Capitals will officially miss the playoffs for the first time in six years, this is a great time to focus more on the tendencies of this Adam Oates-led team. While a lot of positive stories have been written about the team’s revitalized power play and its Russian captain, there’s a lot of reasons why we think Oates may be holding this team back from bigger and better things. Like, here’s twenty of them.
Then there’s the whole issue of the Caps sometimes looking like a beer-league team on the ice. Over the last few weeks, Caps players have violently collided into each other three times. Three. Times. And in two straight games.
Because this seems to be more like a pattern than a series of freak events, I collected GIFs and video of all the times it’s happened during Oates’ tenure. It’s happened… a lot.
Jan 15, 2013 – Alex Ovechkin Crashes Into Marcus Johansson
Before the Caps even played a regular-season game under Adam Oates, there was a collision. Alex Ovechkin — who was just a few days into playing on the right wing — crashed into Marcus Johansson as they overlapped near the blue line. Important fact: the Caps were playing the ECHL Reading Royals. Johansson, who struggled in the season’s first few weeks of games, was later was diagnosed with a concussion.
Jan 24, 2013 – Alex Ovechkin Crashes Into Wojtek Wolski
Ten days later, Ovechkin — perhaps still not used to his new position — clipped Wojtek Wolski at the blue line in a game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Oct 12, 2013 – Alex Ovechkin Elbows Marcus Johansson
Ovechkin again?! One year later, Ovechkin — fresh off his third MVP award and hopefully comfortable at right wing — elbowed Johansson in the head as he tried to Hercules check Gabriel Landeskog. Johansson was not injured on the play– somehow.
Mar 25, 2014 – Alex Ovechkin Crashes Into Jack Hillen
Detecting a pattern? In overtime against the Los Angeles Kings, defenseman Jack Hillen — who had recently come back from catastrophic leg injury, ran full speed into Ovechkin at center ice. Hillen was injured on the play and has not returned since.
Apr 5, 2014 – Mike Green Crashes Into Jason Chimera
While executing the Worst Breakout Ever, instead of going behind the net, Mike Green cradled the puck in front of the crease. He collided hard with Jason Chimera. Chimera had a cut open up above his eye. Green was injured and has not played since.
Apr 8, 2014 – Troy Brouwer Crashes Into Marcus Johansson
In the Capitals’ very next game, it happened again. Consecutive games FTW! After Troy Brouwer took a nasty hit from behind into the boards, he skated to the bench. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. He crashed into Marcus Johansson. That’s an injured Caps player gets double-injured and taking out his teammate while trying to get off the ice. That’s so Caps.
I don’t have the numbers to determine if this happens more to the Capitals than other teams, but I don’t remember this happening so much under Glen Hanlon, Bruce Boudreau, or Dale Hunter. Has the Oates system made the players lost, lazy, or just self-destructive? What even is going on? Why is Ovi at the center of it? What the heck?