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How will the Caps play under Oates?

Jul 31, 2012, 1:13 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

Of all the Washington Capitals, Alex Ovechkin might’ve been the happiest when the club hired one of the most prolific scorers in NHL history, Adam Oates, as the team’s head coach.

“It’s not blocking the shots and it’s not dump and chase,” Ovechkin said, not-so-subtly referencing former coach Dale Hunter’s defense-first philosophy. “Any system that I play I learn a lot. I’m an offensive guy, it’s not a secret to anybody, and I’m pretty excited and very happy to hear the Caps signed that kind of guy who likes offense.”

Ovechkin did add “you don’t forget about defense,” but that didn’t stop Caps GM George McPhee from joking that his captain “still might have to dump it in and block a shot once in a while.”

It’s not likely Washington will revert all the way back to run-and-gun hockey next season, but associate goalie coach Olaf Kolzig did admit the Caps “maybe weren’t utilizing the players that we had” under Hunter.

For example, Ovechkin.

In Game 2 of Washington’s second-round playoff series against the Rangers – a 3-2 Caps victory – the former 65-goal scorer spent just 13:36 on the ice, more than six minutes less than grinding forward Jay Beagle.

Ovechkin’s salary in 2011-12 was $9 million.

Beagle’s was $525,000.

Forward Troy Brouwer is hoping Oates – who finished his career with 1,420 points in 1,337 games – can balance offensive freedom with defensive responsibility.

“Adam has a lot of good ideas on how to make sure a team is even keeled,” Brouwer told the Washington Post. “Dale was very defensive and we were taking that to the extreme, even if it’s not to that point it’s important that guys continue to pay attention to the details.

“I sure hope that our star players don’t throw everything we learned out the window and don’t focus solely on offense. We need those guys blocking shots, paying the price and getting back in the defensive zone too. Those are skills you can’t forget, those are things that make a difference for successful teams.”

It’s Washington Capitals day on PHT. Keep checking back for more Caps-related stories.

  1. stakex - Jul 31, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Hunter played a defenseive style you only see from teams with little to no offensive punch… not teams with three of the most offensive talented players in the league. It wasn’t even dump and chase… it was dump and don’t chase. You just can’t do that with guys like Ovechkin, Backstrome, and Semin on your team. Sure you can preach defense, but you still have to play offense at some point…

    As such I would be shocked if the Caps don’t play a far more open style this year. Its not going to be a “screw defense” style like 2009… but its probably going to be pretty close.

  2. lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 31, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    I’m not really a Caps fan (even less so with the Jets in their division) but they need that spark again and hopefully Oates provides it. Say what you want about Ovi but the guy is one of the most entertaining players in the league when he’s unleashed. Here’s to another crazy, one-man highlight reel season. We need more of those.

    • therealjr - Jul 31, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      Are you from the Winnipeg area?

      Is it impossible to get single game tickets? I might like to see the Caps up there.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 31, 2012 at 10:22 PM

        Originally, yes. However, I’ve actually been living in or around Minneapolis for about 14 years now. I like to consider myself Canasotan. What I do know is there’s about 800 single seat tickets per game and that Winnipeg has the 2nd highest ticket prices in the NHL. I had a friend who offered to let me buy a couple of his tickets for a mere $117 per…for the cheap seats. I lol’d and decided to pass. I can watch 3-4 Wild games/ticket for those prices.

  3. bloatedjoxx - Jul 31, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    this team is irrelevant to the nhl.

    • babykaby - Aug 4, 2012 at 6:03 AM

      Maybe, but you are irrelevant to the world.

  4. muir6 - Jul 31, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Not irrelevant those are the Canadian teams, but there predictable lots of talent early spring tee times.

  5. grlscout - Aug 1, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    I dont know that the Capitals collapse is completely on Hunter. It would help the team if Ovechkin was less of a diva.

    • babykaby - Aug 4, 2012 at 6:05 AM

      The collapse happened before Hunter got the job, that is why he got the job. And don’t you worry about Ovi being a diva, we Caps fans love him just the way he is. Go pick on someone else.

  6. ron05342 - Aug 1, 2012 at 2:02 AM

    The only real impression I got from Adam Oates was of him screaming at the ref in game 6 of the Finals for the linesman getting in the way of his defenseman.

    Kind of off his rocker. Don’t know how effective of a head coach he will be.

    • babykaby - Aug 4, 2012 at 6:08 AM

      Real smart, base your opinion on a five-second tv clip. Yep, real smart.

  7. neelyisgod - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    Oatsie is a good guy, a little strange almost like he was hiding something. though. Had a chance to speak with him numerous times from his days in Boston. He was hanging out with the traffic/news girl in the office at the time. As far as his coaching style, he will need to get through to his players that Mr Assist is not a miracle worker and the game has changed 2fold since he was skating around with Hull & Neely and you need to work the corners for scoring opportunities.
    I have several autographs on photos and cards if any Caps fans are looking for some:)

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