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Month later, Caps coach blames officiating, Lundqvist for elimination

Jun 14, 2013, 9:50 AM EDT

Adam Oates AP

Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates has had roughly a month to reflect on why his team lost to the New York Rangers in seven games. After all that time, he’s come up with two primary reasons for his team’s first-round elimination.

“I think we played pretty good hockey for six-and a-half games,” Oates told CSN Washington. “I don’t think we got the best shake with the referees, especially in New York [in Game 6]. I don’t think the discrepancy of the calls [five power plays for the Rangers, none for the Caps] were fair, but what are you going to do about it, right?

“[Rangers goalie Henrik] Lundqvist played fantastic. I mean, my token answer to you is that Lundqvist played absolutely fantastic and we couldn’t get through him. I talked to a lot of the guys about finding other ways to beat a good goalie and we couldn’t t find other ways to get opportunities.”

It was suggested to Oates that fans might get upset if he attempted to use the opposing goaltender and refereeing as the reasons Washington’s playoff run ended.

“I don’t know any other way to say it,” Oates said. “I mean, Number One, I can get in trouble [criticizing NHL officials]. And Number Two, you look like a sore loser and you look like a guy copping out and looking for excuses.

“But then my answer is we actually played pretty good hockey, so I can’t complain about that. In Game 6, Ovi had how many shots? Five Grade A chances. He beat [Lundqvist] and missed the open net. We didn’t get a single power play in the game. If I’m not allowed to use an excuse I might as well keep my moth shut.”

After Game 6, Alex Ovechkin remarked, “Not saying there was a phone call, but they wanted Game 7.” In addition, Capitals GM George McPhee said his team’s lack of power plays in that game “didn’t feel right.”

Regardless, Washington was unable to score a single goal in their final two games.

“Very true,” Oates said. “You know what? We gotta play way better. We did some great things. Some guys had great years. I’ve got to find a way to be better and I asked the players to find a way to be better. If we all collectively try to walk that path maybe the organization will get better and one of these days it will happen.”

Oates would like to see the team do better defensively, as he feels that will lead to more offense. He also thinks now that his players have familiarized themselves with his system, he can start focusing on more specific areas of concern.

  1. jpelle82 - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    yup shouldve just kept your mouth shut like you said. you are perpetuating the whole accountability problem there in washington with any comments that include ANY kind of excuse. just say you didnt play well enough to win and move on.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      Agreed!

      “You know what? We gotta play way better. We did some great things. Some guys had great years. I’ve got to find a way to be better and I asked the players to find a way to be better. If we all collectively try to walk that path maybe the organization will get better and one of these days it will happen.”

      That’s all he should have said.

      • jpelle82 - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        i’ve got nothing but respect for oates but he’s about the only guy in washington that i can say that about these days (except maybe braden holtby). he’s got to promote the gold standard and rise above this riot act the gm and superstar have been propogating. its been long enough for the dust to settle. he wasnt hemmed in by the questions, he offered this commentary up pretty freely if you read the whole interview.

    • blackfoot11 - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      J, he is being accountable by stating his justification of why they didn’t win and the need for him to better as a coach. He understands that it probably wont pass for certain folks, but he’s being honest, not unaccountable. He goes on to say that they need to be more sound defensively, and play better and consistent overall, if they want to win a championship. The accountablility issue lies with GMGM and his FO team. They all could learn a few things from Oates’ candor and self-evaluation.

  2. packerswin96 - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    How about you just blame Ovechkin for his play like you should? If he had played even close to what he did the last half of regular season Washington wins!

    • fivetozeroingame7 - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      Because Oates is disingenuous and a sore loser

    • stakex - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:46 PM

      Ovechkin didn’t have to play against Lundqvist and the Rangers shut down defense for all those games in the regular season though.

      To be honest, it was actually the lack of production from other parts of the Caps team that killed them. The Rangers didn’t have to worry as much about the rest of the team, and could park two guy on Ovechkin the entire time. The Caps just didn’t have any sort of secondary scoring threat the Rangers needed to worry about.

      • chicagobtech - Jun 14, 2013 at 2:57 PM

        Seven games and Ovechkin can only manage two points? Here’s a guy who went from third in the League for points in the regular season, averaging better than a point per game over that span. That’s falling off a cliff levels of dropping off.

    • alexnewca - Jun 14, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      Ovechkin played great in games 1,2,5, and 6. He did lack in the back checking department in games 3 and 4 that’s obvious to everyone but it’s not all his fault. He set up his linemates (backstrom and johansson) numerous times but they couldn’t finish, especially johansson who is a 3rd liner playing left wing on the top line.

  3. greenmtnboy31 - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    I have gained some respect for Oates and his willingness to tell it like it is; the truth.
    Yes, they needed to play better. Yes, they ran into a hot goalie in Lundqvist who deserves credit for playing so well. And YES, they were also beat by suspect officiating. We saw it with Walkom trying to steal a game from Chicago by disallowing a goal on a pee wee level call. We saw it in game three of the B’s/Pens series where Jagr’s blatant hooking, a hooking call and much less that were called all year, was overlooked and led to the game winning goal. How does the NHL reconcile those two plays where the officials were directly impacting the outcome of the game?

    • billyhauntswizards - Jun 14, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      they were not “beat” by subject officiating by any means. You could make that argument for Chicago who lost that goal cause of that BS call by Walkom, and the Jagr hook is debatable. NONE of those times did that happen for Washington. Actually if I remember correctly they only scored their 2nd or 3rd (don’t remember which) in game 1 because a player hooked Anton Stralman so he couldn’t get to the loose puck. Could the Caps have had more powerplays? Yeah sure. But they didn’t, and if they can’t score at even strength and NEED the powerplay like they supposedly do, they deserve to be eliminated. Ovi’s gonna have a blast next year facing real competition and being kept out of the postseason for once.

      • greenmtnboy31 - Jun 14, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        On the standard of hooking that has been called all season long, and I don’t necessarily agree with it, the Jagr hook is NOT debatable; it’s blatantly obvious. It’s also obvious that the NHL has an officiating problem that they are not recognizing, based on the midget commissioner’s comments.

      • billyhauntswizards - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:00 PM

        yeah the officiating blows but cut it out with this it cost the poor Caps the series garbage. They deserved to lose.

  4. ibieiniid - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Adam Oates, the only one still wondering why Washington lost.

    • blackfoot11 - Jun 14, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      ….thats b/c he had a season review interview with the Caps Insider from CSN. All teams do this, nothing new about it.

  5. billyhauntswizards - Jun 14, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    this clown just doesn’t quit does he.

  6. fivetozeroingame7 - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Loser coach, loser organization

    • therealjr - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      What is with the trolling man? Please have your mom give you a bath and let you out of the house so you can mellow out.

      • fivetozeroingame7 - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        Because no one deserves it more than this incredibly whiny bunch of players coaches and fans

    • blackfoot11 - Jun 14, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      Loser coach, loser organization…..huh, look in the mirror Rangers fan.

  7. stakex - Jun 14, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    He was asked why he felt his team lost, and he responded with his honest opinion. He’s not whining, just saying why he thinks they lost.

    That’s not to say his opinion is correct. The one thing I wish they would get over is the 5-0 penalty calls in favor of the Rangers in game six. The amount of penalties called in a game isn’t suppose to be “fair”. Just because one team gets five power plays doesn’t mean the other team is entitled to a couple of their own. I watched this game twice, and none of the calls against the Caps were marginal. They lost their discipline and took bad penalties. On the flip side, I have not seen a Caps player, coach, or fans point to a single missed call against the Rangers in that game. Not one. All the complaining is about the 5-0, and not about what actually happened.

    Besides, the Rangers didn’t score a power play goal in that game and the power players were even in the game seven blowout.

  8. Bart Breen - Jun 14, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Anyone note the irony that Oates lost that series and still has a job? How’s that working out for YOU, Torts?

  9. Kristenaux - Jun 15, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Why is he not permitted to say what he feels *when asked*? If he felt that way then he should say how he felt without a bunch of critics hiding behind their CPU’s saying he should just shut up. For one thing the officiating was deplorable, not just in that series, but nearly every one this season. The only ones who wouldn’t agree to that statement are those who benefited by it! For the record, Stephen Walkom lives in Pittsburgh and has admitted on numerous occasions that he tends to make calls against the Penguins for fear of looking like he’s favoring them. Which is worse? Why not just make calls as they are intended in the NHL rule book?
    NHL officiating is awful. Any player or coach, as well as fans have every right to complain about it.

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