Let’s face it, this whole Adam Oates this is not working out for the Washington Capitals.
The rookie NHL head coach is off to a 1-5-1 start. He is playing superstar Alex Ovechkin on a line with two muckers.
He buried 2012 playoff hero Braden Holtby after two starts in goal, starting Michal Neuvirth in the nets for the next five games. (Holtby will start tonight’s game against Philadelphia.)
The Capitals are struggling to master his offensive and defensive systems. They are awful at even strength and they earn far too many penalties.
Washington has already sunk to the Eastern Conference cellar, five points out of the No. 8 playoff spot. Pittsburgh looms next on its schedule after the Flyers game.
How long will general manager George McPhee let this slide? And how much longer will owner Ted Leonsis allow McPhee to oversee the team?
In Thursday night’s 3-2 loss at Toronto, the Capitals were outshot 41-22. They took eight minor penalties, all of them bad. They have taken five or more penalties in six of their seven games.
“You spend so much energy trying to kill those penalties that maybe you run out of a little bit of juice,” Oates told reporters after the game. “For some of the plays, guys have got to be maybe a little bit more focused on their sticks.”
Somehow they took a 2-1 lead into the third period, but once again they wasted that margin and failed to gain any points.
“Discipline’s been probably what’s costing us since the beginning of the year,” center Mike Ribeiro told the Washington Post. “If you don’t change that, then it’s just going to keep snowballing like that. You have to be disciplined on everything: on your shifts, how we play, how you chip the puck, how you take penalties, discipline in your game plan.”