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Oates admits Caps missed Ovechkin in sixth straight loss

Jan 21, 2014, 10:36 PM EDT

On paper, Alex Ovechkin missing Tuesday’s game with an injury was the last thing the ailing Washington Capitals needed, yet sometimes team rally when they lose their best player. That didn’t happen tonight, though, as the Ottawa Senators handed them their sixth consecutive loss 2-0.

After the game, Adam Oates admitted that Ovechkin’s absence was felt – especially on the power play – as CBS’ Sky Kerstein reports.

“I think we missed Ovi a little bit tonight, more than I thought we would because we handled it before,” Oates said.

The Capitals only have two goals in their last three games, with just one (John Carlson in a 5-1 loss on Jan. 17) coming from someone not named Ovechkin. They’ve been held to one goal or less in five of these six losses.

With that in mind, maybe the team as a whole is fortunate that the team’s goalie logjam has distracted many from what’s likely their true problem: scoring (or maybe just about everything other than goaltending):

If Washington wants to avoid slipping even deeper into this funk, they’ll need more from a host of different players.

  1. dcfan4life - Jan 21, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    Trade time. Gotta shake this team up before its too late. Best overvalued player to trade is Mike Green. Most likely wont be him. Our talent pool in Hershey is damn good too but i hope we dont empty the farms again for rentals…

    • joey4id - Jan 22, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      Why not trade Ovi? It could make your team better. Talk a look at the Lindros trade to Philly as an example. I understand the age difference between Ovi and Lindros and the potential of the prospects in return for Ovi may be less, but if done properly it could help the Caps build a SC contending team.

      “Many consider this trade a key reason that the Colorado Avalanche (the new name of the Nordiques after they relocated before the 1995-96 season), went on to be an NHL powerhouse. They received in the trade the rights to eventual Hart Trophy winner Peter Forsberg, as well as Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, a 1st round selection (Jocelyn Thibault) in 1993, a 1st round selection (later traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, later traded to the Washington Capitals—Nolan Baumgartner) in 1994, and $15,000,000 cash. Since the trade, the Avalanche have won eight division titles and two Stanley Cup championships, due in part to the play of Forsberg, and the later addition of Patrick Roy, whom the Avalanche received in a later package deal that included Thibault.” – Wikipedia

      • lonespeed - Jan 22, 2014 at 11:01 AM

        @joey4id

        I’m in the Capitals market, so I watch a lot of Capitals games. Do you realize how bad Washington is without Alexander Ovechkin? They would be competing with the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres for bottom dwellers without him.

        Does he have holes in his game? Sure. He’s certainly not the best defender. But he’s probably the best power-play player in the league and he’s the one guy on the team that can score at anytime. He’s also unselfish and has improved as a captain.

        That roster is absolutely terrible. I’ve never understood why the local media considers the team talented, because I don’t see it. John Carlson is solid on defense. Nicklas Backstrom is a solid player. I think Joel Ward is a pretty solid role-player and I like Dmitri Orlov. Tom Wilson is a pretty solid checking forward.

        But then you get into the rest of the roster. Mike Green and Martin Erat are massively overrated. Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer, Eric Fehr, Jason Chimera, and Jay Beagle are the definition of average players, and you can’t have that many average players to go along with other role-players.

        I’ve followed Jay Beagles career because he skated for my college, but he’s simply not that good of an NHL player. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t be on most team’s 4th line. He’s a decent face-off guy and a penalty killer, but he really doesn’t have any offensive skill. That having been said, last night they put him out there at the end of the game as their sixth skater. Jay Beagle was the best they had for a sixth skater! Embarrassing.

      • joey4id - Jan 22, 2014 at 11:34 AM

        Lonespeed, I watch at least 7 NHL games per week, and the Caps are one of the teams I will watch when they play any of the top 6 or 8 teams from each conference, and I’ve been doing since Ovi broke in the league. And! Yes! I do know they would lose a hell of a goal scorer, and that would hurt their offensive productivity, which is why if you trade him you have to replace his offensive output. No doubt!

        Many players have holes in their game. I get that, but he’s the Caps $10 million franchise player, and must lead by example. Not back-checking is not what a leader does. Fly bys at center ice when your team is protecting a lead is not something a leader does. You never Toews do stuff like that. Here’s the way I look at. If I were Chicago would I trade Toews for Ovi? No way! If I were the Caps would I trade Ovi for Toews? Hell! Yes! And I would answer the same for Zetterburg! If Datsyuk was younger I would make the trade as well. I don’t know if you read the bit about Scott Stevens. Can you see Ovi do that? Idk… I don’t see it from his behavior on the ice, or from how he speaks to the press. Too me, he’s not leadership material. I get that they are stuck with him as the C unless they move him, and the window is closing quickly on the Caps. Is it time to hit the reset? I’ve been advocating a trade for a long time now, so my answer is obviously, yes. Do it know while his market value is still high.

        I agree with you that they could use some more depth which is why I think they should trade Ovi (I wouldn’t trade Toews if he were the Caps captain) to strengthen their line up. Again! I don’t believe he’s leadership material and you can’t strip him of the C.

      • shaynecole - Jan 22, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        All the Ovi trade talk is moot. He’s got a no trade clause and there’s no way the guy’s about to waive it.

      • joey4id - Jan 22, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        Why wouldn’t he wave his no trade clause?

      • lonespeed - Jan 22, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        joey4id, this is where your logic fails.

        Teams not in the playoff hunt are not looking to acquire a player like Ovechkin, they are looking to dump their own cap hits to rebuild.

        That leaves the playoff teams, and most of those are up against the cap limit, so in order to trade for Ovechkin they would have to give up equal value. That is very difficult to do and can’t be done by packaging up a bunch of prospects. The Capitals would likely have to take on another high contract but with no where near the value Ovechkin provides. Furthermore, Washington would need to replace his scoring and its going to be very difficult to talk another team into giving up a package of players to replace what he’ll vacate.

        Finally, you under appreciate Ovechkin’s value to the fan base. The Capitals fans love that guy and he’s the identity of the team. You trade Ovechkin and the organization as a whole takes a major hit. Nicholas Backstrom is not going to put butts in the seats and without Ovechkin, the team would basically be declaring the playoffs not possible. Even with their most recent loses, they are just barely on the outside looking in for the playoff race.

      • joey4id - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        lonespeed, you make some very valid points, and most I thought about. Ex. the cap, isn’t their language in the CBA that would permit the Caps to retain a portion of his salary. (will do research on that) I can’t see Ovi waving his no trade clause and accepting a trade to a non playoff contender. So, yes! It would have to be a trade involving a top 10 team. I didn’t really put too much thought into how this trade with sit with the fan base. They can’t be very happy with how things are going now. Yes! It would take some huge cahoonas to make that trade, and I believe a business man like Leonis has the cajones.

        BTW, do you think Ovi is feeling the pinch with respect to the responsibilities he carries for the Russian Olympic team playing at home? He certainly has not shown any signs of slowing down.

        They are slipping and playing the next 5 games on the road. There has got to be a sense of urgency in that locker room. If not, Ovi better rally the troops for a strong push. 9 games in the next 17 games isn’t going to be easy before the Olympic break. The boys in Anaheim indicated the buzz surrounding the game at Dodger stadium was becoming a distraction. It will be interesting to see which of the Olympians will be distracted the most as we get closer.

  2. joey4id - Jan 21, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Where was Ovi in the previous 5 loses? I guess it doesn’t matter anymore. With or without the 2013 Hart Trophy Winner the caps are quickly slipping away.

    • stakex - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:54 AM

      He was scoring three goals in those five games (and four in the last six). Nice try though.

      • joey4id - Jan 22, 2014 at 6:10 AM

        Yes! And that is my point. They are losing with or without him. The team is slipping. What’s your point?

  3. stunzeed5 - Jan 21, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    What a shame…..this team always seems to take two steps back for every positive. At least they unclogged that logjam at goalie….

  4. ravenscaps48 - Jan 21, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    God, we suck!

  5. farvefromover - Jan 22, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    tough game to be at tonight… the white knuckle drive home on the ice in DC was the easy part

  6. watermelon1 - Jan 22, 2014 at 6:34 AM

    Joey… What’s YOUR point? Saying they should trade Ovechkin?

    Or saying Ovechkin isn’t good?

    Either way you’re wrong.

    • joey4id - Jan 22, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      No doubt Ovi is a very prolific goal scorer. It just seems like this team is always almost there, and it may be time to hit the reset button. Trading whoever has to be traded to make this team better even if it means trading Ovi. Hey! If “The Greatest” ever got traded, why not Ovi if it will improve the team? Orr was also traded!

  7. 7mantel - Jan 22, 2014 at 7:02 AM

    Maybe it’s just the fact that playing in tougher division is exposing the soft underbelly of the Caps !

    • shaynecole - Jan 22, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      Not really. It hasn’t been a particularly tough or even physical division so far this year. Even the teams known for being that way aren’t really showing that kind of game. Tougher than the Southeast was, sure, but outside the Pens no one’s really been getting it done night after night until very recently.

      • 7mantel - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        exactly when the rest of the division was floundering the Caps were 2nd in the division . When the other teams got their acts together down went the caps and dropping !

  8. trademikegreenforjoeflacco - Jan 22, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Well dang

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