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Oates on three-game California trip: ‘We gotta win them all’

Mar 18, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

Adam Oates AP

Last week, it was the Toronto Maple Leafs heading out west to face the three tough California teams.

This week, it’s the Washington Capitals’ turn, with games in Anaheim tonight, Los Angeles Thursday and San Jose Saturday.

And give the standings, the Caps can’t afford a bad trip.

“We gotta win them all,” coach Adam Oates said, per CSN Washington. “I know they’re better than us in the standings, but you’ve got have the attitude you’re going to beat them. Toronto had a good trip out there and we just beat them.”

The Leafs did indeed have a good trip. They beat Anaheim and Los Angeles, losing only to San Jose. Granted, Toronto was outshot badly in all three games, but the wins were still wins.

Combined, the Ducks, Kings and Sharks are 68-23-10 at home, while Washington is 12-16-5 on the road. Which is to say, winning them all would be quite the accomplishment for Oates’ troops.

“I think we can afford to lose one,” said defenseman Karl Alzner. “Obviously, we don’t want to. We want to try to upset a couple teams. They’re in good position and maybe they’ll take us a little lightly. Hopefully, they do and we can capitalize on that.”

  1. joey4id - Mar 18, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Caps have to win 10 of their last 13 games to get a chance to make the playoffs. It doesn’t look good at all.

    • valoisvipers - Mar 18, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      I have to agree with you, the Caps are toast.

      • joey4id - Mar 18, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        Hi there, I’m cheering for them Wings, but they also need 10 wins.

  2. budzo83 - Mar 18, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    I’m not a Caps fan, so I’m just a casual observer here, but why on earth would Alzner say something like that? Regardless of how true or untrue that statement may be, the fans don’t want to hear it, his teammates don’t want to hear it, and his coach sure as hell doesn’t want to hear it. So why invite the criticism? Sometimes perceived lack of effort can be more damaging than an actual lack of effort.

    Don’t get me wrong, it can be refreshing when someone has something to say that doesn’t exactly “toe the company line,” but not when your team is fighting for their playoff-lives.

    • joey4id - Mar 18, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      Maybe he wants out of Wsh… maybe he wants go get the coach fired…. If Ovi would do his job as the face of the franchise and leader he’d be doing the talking on behalf of the team and the others would just do the usual “toe the company line”. Everyone knows their cooked and they’ll be on the beach come the start of the playoffs. This team has no identity as a whole.

      • babykaby - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:47 AM

        The quote from Karl was made after the game when they interview a number of players not just the coach and the team captain. I did not realize that most teams were not allowed to answer questions. Last I heard this was a free country where free speech was not only allowed but welcomed. Sorry to hear you must cheer for a team where the players are not allowed to speak or voice an opinion, where they must “toe the company line”.

      • joey4id - Mar 19, 2014 at 9:03 AM

        You’re right I don’t cheer for a specific team just because all the teams in the NHL allow their players to voice their opinion. However, I do appreciate teams that are well managed, coordinated, and built to win and unify a team. Teams not known for stupid comments like the Caps are. I prefer teams like Chi, Ana, Bos, Det, StL, LA, SJ etc… Caps (starting with Ovi) have a history of making stupid comments. It goes back to what the fact that they don’t have character and the players in that locker room don’t have what it takes to be winner…. or even make the playoffs.

    • imf311 - Mar 18, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      this was taken a little out of context. Alzner responded this way after coming off the last 2 back to back wins…he meant winning those two has taken some pressure off of going 3-0 in Cali. But I agree, he shouldn’t have said anything like that. Results often follow the mindset.

  3. kingsfan93 - Mar 18, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    I be sitting on my new couch when Caps play my Kings. So be fun to watch.

  4. hookersdontsnuggle - Mar 18, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Zero chance they beat the Shark in San Jose.

    • imf311 - Mar 18, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      it’s hard to argue with that…Caps haven’t won in SJ since Oct 30, 1993

  5. wtfkwp - Mar 18, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    If they’ve got to win them all, someone’s going to be disappointed.

  6. sjshark714 - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    I absolutely LOVE that the 3 game California swing is the most dreaded road trip in the league right now… especially for the Eastern teams. I have a lot of hate for those southern teams, but I got a lot of respect for them helping to make this the hardest state to come and win games in.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      yeah its definitely good to see. hopefully the popularity continues to grow and california can produce grade A talent for american hockey in the coming years.

    • r8rbhawk - Mar 18, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      Looking at the current Western Conference standings, isn’t it nice to see the three Cali teams near the top while the three Canada teams are bottom-dwellers?

  7. bobc74 - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    You can tell a lot about the Caps team psyche by reading Alzner’s quote.

    • manilarizzo - Mar 19, 2014 at 1:09 AM

      I can tell a lot about their psyche too by watching what they just did to the Ducks. Physical, great penalty kills, excellent goal tending…. no reason to think they can’t pull out 3 for 3 on this trip. Unfortunately they’re too lazy and passive during the season and it seems they’re creating a trend of scrambling to get in but I see them scrambling and achieving a spot in the post season if that type of effort can be sustained.

      • joey4id - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:21 AM

        “if that type of effort can be sustained” They are in a precarious position preciously because they couldn’t sustain that type of effort since the start of the season. This team lacks leadership and character.

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