Skip to content

Oates: Capitals going in ‘right direction’ despite loss to Maple Leafs

Feb 5, 2013, 11:34 PM EDT

Toronto Maple Leafs v Washington Capitals Getty Images

The Washington Capitals are now 10 games into the season and they continue to fall behind the pack in the Eastern Conference standings.

They suffered another setback Tuesday night, losing 3-2 to the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. The loss drops Washington’s record to 2-7-1. They are last in the East.

“I wouldn’t sacrifice the way the team is playing for a couple wins. I wouldn’t, not the wrong way,” Capitals head coach Adam Oates told Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times Monday.

“Because I think big picture you want to win tonight but you’ve got to try and think big picture and that’s what direction we’re going as a team and I think we’re going in the right direction.”

Alex Ovechkin, who has just two goals in those 10 games – although perhaps his recent increase in scoring chances is encouraging – had one assist in the loss.

Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk scored twice in a span of two minutes and 35 seconds to give Toronto a 2-0 lead in the first period.

“We’ve been talking about a couple of those things, getting in on the forecheck, making it hard on their defenseman and getting to the net,” van Riemsdyk told “I got some lucky bounces and I was able to put them in.”

Korbinian Holzer scored his first career NHL goal and the winner just past the midway point of the second period.

The Leafs are now 4-1 away from the Air Canada Centre.

  1. dcfan4life - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    What else is Oates suppose to say? He has to stay positive. But the fact of the matter is the goaltending is suspect, the defense is bad, and the offense isnt good enough to counter that. So the losses will mount. When your dead last in the NHL in a number of catagories, then nothing is going right. Trade for defense and goaltending please. We need it badly. And if the next 10 games are as bad as the first, regardless of supposed progress, id expect heads will roll.

    • govtminion - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:23 AM

      You’re assuming the offense just isn’t able to counter the bad defense and goaltending. To me, that’s the core of the problem- scoring. Ovechkin? Backstrom? Johannsen? Very little out of any of them (I think Johannsen’s face is going to start showing up on milk cartons soon).

      Bottom line, this is a team that went from Cup contender to also-ran very quickly and quietly. I hate saying that, because they’re my local team (if not my preferred team), and I hate to see things come apart like this, but it’s a couple of overpaid and underperforming stars and a bunch of third-liners in DC these days- Calgary Flames East, if you will. And there’s not one part of their game that has looked good at all so far.

      • dcfan4life - Feb 6, 2013 at 2:19 AM

        Last year, this team was built on defense first, and scored just enough to win. 3-2 victories and 2-1 victories galore. Well there still scoring about that. 23 goals in 10 games. Yet to be shutout. But also havent topped more than 3 goals a game. My point was last year their defense was so good they could win scoring 3 goals. This year their defense is so bad its amazing they havent given up more. I like the idea of building from defense, but building offense under these circumstances will help plenty too. Something needs to improve. Im sure every Caps fan can agree on that.

    • blackfoot11 - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      I agree with your assessment of the poor defense and goaltending, and the lack of offense, despite plenty of good scoring chances. However, I can’t on the trade route for goaltending and blueliners. The Caps have great talent in their system and they would have to give up some of that talent to maybe acquire an impact player(s), that may not be resigned/extended after this short season. I think they need to tap their talented pipline to remedy the lackluster production of some current players, and move on from others. This is an unconventional season, so the Caps should continue to work in the new schemes, evaluate needs, hold off on any personnel/management changes until the off-season. If they miss the playoffs, it might do them some good to take a post-season off, and look in the mirror.

      • gocaps8 - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:50 AM

        Agreed, blackfoot. We are also short Laich and Orlov right now. Poti is still getting comfortable. I’d like to see how things come together once those issues resolve.

        And if they miss the playoffs, bring Forsberg over next year and Kuznetsov the following year. Can’t trade those guys because the pipeline isn’t what it was when the Bears won the Calder.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 6, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        the fact that poti, schultz, and erskine have been leaned on shows severe lack of depth in the defensive corps….i blame gm. as far as kuznetsov i doubt he will play a game with the caps, he seems to be happy in the khl and he is committed to them til 2014 – caps rights to him will expire eventually, not sure how long they can hold onto them though.

      • gocaps8 - Feb 6, 2013 at 11:38 AM

        jpelle, i think Kuznetsov has said he is going to play for the Caps in ’14-’15, right? Said the main reason he opted for the KHL is he knew there would be a lockout. Granted that may not happen, but I think he announced his plans around the time the lockout ended.

        I completely agree about Schultz. How can a man that big play so small?

        That said, I think the current struggles are about much more than personnel or scheme.

      • blackfoot11 - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        The lack of blueliner depth is due to Orlov and Hillen injuries, and will continue to lean on the current rotation until they can return. You can’t predict injury and there aren’t any worthy D-men on the trading block worth risking your prospects for.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 6, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        i see a radulov situation with kuznetsov, even when he does show up, who knows if he is even worth it by then

    • rsl22 - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      If you look at shots against, it’s not that they’re bad….it’s that the goalies have been awful.

      Pitt on Sunday, 6 goals scored on 26 shots against.

      Toronto last night, 3 goals scored on 21 shots.

  2. phillyphanatic77 - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    Good to see the JVR-Schenn trade is working out for both sides. At times JVR looks unstoppable then goes through 10-20 game streaks where he completely disappears. I hope he can turn into the 40-goal scorer he’s been projected to be. But I’ve also been happy with Luke Schenn. Slow footed but hits everything and has taken good angles this season. No question JVR has more upside though.

  3. skodad3 - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Doesnt anyone look at oates?

    • blackfoot11 - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      No, I will hold my assessment until after he coaches a full season.

    • gocaps8 - Feb 6, 2013 at 11:44 AM

      I think its too early to look at the system. Caps are missing Laich and Orlov and are still rounding into playing shape. Oates is right – they’ve made progress since the first 2-3 games.

      I actually think even though the stat sheet doesn’t show it, Ovi has been changing his game a little, driving the paint, circling the net more. It’s not just the one-timer or the use the defender as a screen move anymore.

      If all these guys hustled like Beagle, Chimera and Hendricks they’d be a solid playoff team.

      • blackfoot11 - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        Dont forget to add Kundratek to the list of solid/hustle play. He made the team in camp from Hershey, has improved everygame on the blueline and I would love to see him bumped to the Backstorm line.

  4. valoisvipers - Feb 7, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    It’s hard to believe they are going in the right direction if they just lost to the Leafs unless he means when you are at rock bottom there is only one way to go.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1916)
  2. P. Kessel (1607)
  3. M. Richards (1369)
  4. N. Backstrom (1184)
  5. M. Giordano (1158)