Steve Oleksy: 2013-14 Season Review

Of the 13 (!) defenders the Capitals used this season, Steve Oleksy outscored the opposition better than any of them, stayed about even in relative puck possession, and made everybody smile. So obviously he got put on waivers and sent down to Hershey.

By the Numbers

33 Games played
14.9 Average time on ice per game
2 Goals
8 Assists
46.6% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
58.8% Goal percentage during 5v5
9.9% On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5
94.0% On-ice saving percentage during 5v5

Peter’s Take

I’m not particularly a Steve Oleksy fan, but it’s hard to argue that the team wasn’t better when he was on it. The Brouillettes and Carricks and Urboms and Strachans of the world just don’t compare too favorably to Sexy ‘Leksy, so what happened in January still kind of baffles me.

Oleksy was in the red possession wise, but so was the rest of the team (except, like, Grabo and Fehr and Green). After the Caps loss in Minny, Carrick returned to the lineup and Oleksy never saw another sweater. 16 days later, George McPhee gave him a shot at another club by putting Oleksy on waivers. No bites, so Steve reported to Hershey, where he recorded 6 assists in 30 games (with 39 PIMs, yeah buddy).

For whatever reason, Oates preferred Connor Carrick’s play over Oleksy’s. Even when Oleksy was playing, he got soft deployments (in the offensive zone, against weaker opponents), which might betray that Oates knew something we didn’t about Oleksy’s play. I kinda doubt it though. I don’t really interpret his reassignment to the AHL as a reflection on his play. Too many other decisions made at the Caps this season seemed just as arbitrary, and while I didn’t get particularly worked up when Oleksy got waived I can now see why others did.

One part of running a hockey club is the cold calculus of excising weaker players. Oleksy wasn’t a weaker player, as far as I can tell, and he deserves another shot at the bigs.

Oleksy on RMNB

In Pictures

This is how Steve thanked Caps on his way out of town. Class act and he needs to charge his phone.

Oleksy nearly played baseball instead of hockey. If that’s his batting stance, I think he chose wisely.

You put the puck on the net and good things will ha— how the hell did that go in?!

lol @ lundqvist he’s the worst look at this muffin what a plug enjoy the golf links hank

This hip check cost Barch a tooth.

Goddamn he’s cool. Even Alan May was like, “Damn, that’s cool.”

And let’s wrap up with the classic: Oleksy losing a skate blade and stumbling back to the bench. Please watch the whole GIF set. It still cracks me up.

Your Turn

Why do you think Oates didn’t play Oleksy? Seriously: Why? Do you think he’ll get another shot at the NHL and do you think he deserves one?

Read more: Japers Rink, Peerless

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  • nicoley-poley

    Whenever I’m sad, I just look up the video of Oleksy losing his skate blade and forget my troubles. The best.

  • tpr04

    I agree that Olesky has deficiencies and is, at best, a number 6-7 D-man. What I don’t understand is how any of the options that replaced him on the ice were any better. One thing that Olesky did bring was toughness and a willingness to drop the gloves. That’s something that would have been useful down the stretch – the Nashville game quickly comes to mind. As it was, we had to rely on Wilson, a 19 year old kid, for our muscle, which is really not where you should have wanted his focus over the 2nd half of the season.

    If there was another defender who replaced Olesky that clearly improved the club, I would have been OK with it. But there wasn’t, and we lost his toughness as well. Another of the many Oates mysteries.

  • Hockey mom

    Oh man, I really like Steve! I was totally bummed when he started getting benched and then pretty pissed at the Caps when they put him on waivers. I know I sound like a broken record when I say it, but that was really the beginning if the Caps demise. as soon as they benched him, we went on a bad losing skid and just never seemed to get straight again.

    Not saying that one guy’s play makes the team, but I feel like he brought a lot of heart to and cohesiveness to the team that might was lost with his departure. Off the ice, he was always fun to encounter at Kettler, too.

    I hope to see him in a Caps sweater this Fall!

  • Lawrence

    Loved Oleksy’s personality and its a good thing I am not coach, because I would be playing Oleksy over a lot of our Dman, but in all honesty he disappeared too often to be anything but a 6th/7th D man. At times he looked outstanding with his hands, grit, and hustle, but far too often he looked like a shell of that self. He seems to perform his best when he was thrown into the lineup after being a scratch, when he was a regular Dman he just got worse and worse it seemed. I would love for our new coach to get him into the lineup and work on getting consistency in his game. I don’t think this will be the last time we see Oleksy in the NHL.

  • Pat Magee

    He will be the bottom pair right hander. Carrick will play the whole season in Hershey and be a monster in 15-16. Hopefully.

  • Owen Johnson
  • Barrett

    Steve “Binky” Oleksy deserves a roster spot on this team. Pair him with Dimitri Orlov on the 3rd defensive pairing! If you don’t get rid of John Erskine, those two are the perfect 6th/7th guys to rotate.

    Adam Oates didn’t play him because he’s Adam Oates. Same reason he didn’t play Penner. Put Erat in the dog house. Stuck Beagle on the top-line. Gave Tom Wilson no opportunity to increase his minutes. Loved Connor Carrick. Used about 25 other AHL defenseman to pair with Green and Erskine. Tweaked EVERY players style. Hated on Holtby. Loved his goalie trio. Gave all his forwards new sticks with new curves. His obsession with lefty-righty. Nothing the past two season made sense except the power play getting back on track.

  • VeggieTart

    Oleksy is a solid guy who could be a solid third pairing. But it’s not like any of the guys who replaced him were that much better. Caps D sucked this year.

    BTW, I just love him pushing his hair back before the fight with Dubinsky. That’s just the king of cool, man. He can kick your ass without messing up his hair too much.

  • Jonah

    wow it been a while since i saw everything written out like that and DAYUM he’s one crazy mutherf*cker who needed to go!