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After ‘momentary’ lapse, Oates will tell Ovechkin ‘the same message I tell him all the time’

Apr 3, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT

St Louis Blues v Washington Capitals Getty Images

The day after accusing Alex Ovechkin of quitting on a play in a 5-0 loss to the Dallas Stars, Capitals head coach Adam Oates was once again forced to address his captain’s much-publicized defensive lapses.

“I didn’t talk to him yet about that particular play,” Oates said, per CSN Washington. “We will. The message is the same message I tell him all the time.

“It’s a shame because he actually pushed hard up the ice [into the offensive zone] and I’m sure when he turned around he saw we had three guys back and figured they’d get the job done and they didn’t.”

Speaking of which, one of those “three guys back” was Jay Beagle. The 28-year-old has been centering Ovechkin of late, despite the fact Beagle has just 14 assists in 186 career NHL games.

Why has the coach been playing a defensive-minded forward like Beagle with the NHL’s top goal-scorer?

“The results I was looking for was a balance in the lines and the pace of our game,” Oates explained. “[Mikhail Grabovski] was banged up and we were weak in the middle. You’re doing a little bit of patchwork and I thought Beags did a great job for us.”

“Great job” or not, Ovechkin will reportedly be reunited with center Nicklas Backstrom on Friday when the Caps play in New Jersey.

“Every player has his momentary lapses and [the Dallas game was] a reminder to him that you can’t,” said Oates. “You’re in the spotlight, you can’t.”

  1. lowenni - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Don’t really know what to say. Hard to put that game on Ovi’s shoulders. There’s a serious coaching and management problem in Washington–Oates puts together the most perplexing lines I’ve ever seen a coach create and when a line clicks, he breaks them up, when they fail, he leaves them together. For example, against Dallas he easily could’ve put Ovi with Grabovski as his center (if he wanted to balance the scoring), but instead of using Grabo, the guy we SIGNED TO BE OUR #2C, he puts Grabo on the wing with Beagle left as the center. Excellent article by RMNB highlighting Oates’ failures:

  2. sjsharks66 - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    If I am the Caps I try and trade Ovi. The man can score but that’s it. He does not play with the team, he plays with Ovi. How many times are we going to see him stand back and watch the other team score?

    • c9castine - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      the only thing that would hold them back from that would be sentiment. its hard to say if that would be the right thing to do or not, but when you have 10 mil dollar salary on your books that player needs to be a leader and a difference every night game in game out. scoring goals simply is not enough in this league. it just isnt.

      im not a fan of making changes from the middle out. you start at the top with mcphee, and assess the situation from top to bottom with whoever you choose to come in and lead the organization.

  3. jpelle82 - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    how much you want to bet he scores twice with backstrom centering him friday? he’s due for a multi goal game anyway…this reunion is long overdue. get the guys back in the slots the belong in and the team game will fall back into where its supposed to be naturally. grabovski back as 2C and beagle back as 4C.

  4. joey4id - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    In other words, Oates will tell him for the gizzillionth time what he and other coaches have been telling him, with no apparent effort on his part to change. “Me want to play offense. Me don’t care about +/- because many fans on PHT think this stat is stupid.” What a joke… :-) Trade him. buy him out., send him to KHL….. just get him off your time…… or here’s an idea for Ovi, CHANGE! Start working hard to improve your d and become a true team player worthy of the C. Maybe you have more brains than the ibie something commenter, read “Wearing the “C” Leadership Secrets from Hockey’s Greatest Captains”, by Ross Bernstein. You might learn a thing or 2….. you too ibie…. :-)

    • alexnewca - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      If you think +/- isn’t a stupid stat, just go take a look at who had the best rating in 2010 and then go look at where that player is now. Yea it would be nice for Ovi to play D, but the capitals defense itself is a joke. Look at what happened during the Dallas game the other night. Two defenders and one winger go to hit one guy, allowing the other to score. The teams defense overall needs a makeover, along with the coaching staff.

      • joey4id - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:58 PM

        If you think it’s a useless stat then you can tell Scott Stevens he’s a dummy. And you know what, between what the idiots on here think, and what a 3 time SC champ thinks…… I’ll go with Stevens.

    • c9castine - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:04 PM

      i hate this “send him to the KHL” crap. yeah lets buy him out great idea lets pay a guy several million dollars to score 45 goals for somebody else. genius. trade him? maybe.

      if alex ovechkin wanted to play in the KHL he would. its not a place where poor defense players from the NHL are banished. (ok, even im laughing at that. it KINDA is.)

      you dont have much room to tell people to “learn a thing or two”. where were you on the iginla article?

      i remember you dragging out a pointless argument with me about Malkin’s injury status, citing the Bruins specifically as a team who isnt resting banged up stars in order to stay “clicking on all cylinders”??

      • joey4id - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        Firstly, my point was not literal. The common theme is. Get rid of him! Or, have a serious take and get him to commit to playing 200 feet. Secondly, Malkin’s injury. Hmmm! If I recall correctly, my point was not to rest him for the sake of resting him, but do take him out of the line up if he is injured and there is a risk of aggravating the injury if he plays.Thirdly, is iggy injured? And, BTW, if you miss me, just send me an email. 😉

      • c9castine - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        yeah maybe thats why everybody was so confused as to what the hell you were talking about. he has a hairline fracture in his foot.

        haha “lower body injury”. i dont blame them, id sit him down too. hes 36. should probably sit chara down also he looked like a pylon last night.

    • 7mantel - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:26 PM

      Didn’t Dale Hunter get him to play defense ?

      • joey4id - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:34 PM

        Hmmm! He tried, and had limited success. Did Hunter want to coach Ovi over the course of a full season after his stint as an interim? He knew better than to take that job. Did Hunter cut Ovi’s ice time in the playoffs when they were up by a goal? Yes.

      • barkar942 - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        Dale Hunter got him to play defense by putting him on the bench. That is called intelligent defensive coaching.

  5. muckleflugga - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    look at the teams with coaches continually trashing players publicly … nashville and edmonton and washington

    the tactic does not work and is counter productive … players always side with each-other and motivation slides

    ovechkin makes a mistake or is lazy it becomes news of the world … the anointed one makes a mistake or is lazy it doesn’t get a second call … bylsma no fool

    look at what mike babcock does … blame is rarely proportioned individually and when it is it’s at himself and his assisants

    player blame is always pronounced to be a shared responsibility … when the team falls short of expectation accountability is borne by the entire organization

    players in detroit are supremely confident in babcock and they’re confident they will not be publicly humiliated when they fail or fall short

    they know the route to grand rapids …

    motivation in and of itself

    • c9castine - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:26 PM

      agreed. cant stand when leaders have internal discussions externally.

      babcock slipped up a few weeks ago, in my opinion, but dude was super frustrated and on the brink. and his team responded after that and look where they are now. so i guess really, he just knew the temperature of his team, and knew that he was saying the right thing at the right time in the right place.

    • joey4id - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      Seriously……. mcflug…. You think this is Ovi’s first mental lapse while not in possession of the puck?

  6. flyerspsu - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    honestly if I were the Caps id start listening to trade offers for Ovi, the Caps will never win the cup with Ovi as the guy nor will any other team

  7. joey4id - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    The press in Wsh got Phaneufed today. Crazy 8 refused to meet with the press.

  8. bilbono - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    I don’t buy the whole “you gotta give 110% effort every shift” mantra from coaches.

    Everybody knows that’s just lip service to the fans. Too many NHL coaches seem to be motivational speakers first, strategists second. I mean, would teams really fall into chaos without the salesman pitches from coaches? Probably not.

    Players that genuinely lack work ethic don’t stay in the NHL long. Most NHLers work too hard to get flak for 1-2 dogged plays. \end 2cents

  9. govtminion - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    For those who are shouting for the Caps to trade him… then what?

    It’s not like they can just dump him and everything improves. This isn’t a situation like Boston with Seguin last summer where they’re losing their top scorer, but there’s plenty of firepower elsewhere on the roster. He IS the Caps’ offense for the most part- if he isn’t scoring the goals, he’s assisting, or at least pulling the defense out of position for someone else to do the job. +/- aside, you’re talking about losing a massive portion of what makes the Caps even as competitive as they are most nights.

    And what do you get in return? You’re not going to bring in a similar-caliber player, who is going to make that trade? Vancouver as part of a deal for the Sedins? That doesn’t seem like it fixes anything, you’re trading fading stars for fading stars. Draft picks, the Caps don’t draft all that well- and aren’t looking to go into full-rebuild mode anyway.

    We’re not far removed from the Caps winning a President’s Trophy with Ovehckin as the centerpiece of the team. I’m not saying they’re able to do that anymore- I don’t think they are- but there’s got to be some way to revitalize the team to play around his strengths again rather than trying to shove the square Ovechkin-peg in the round hole.

  10. muckleflugga - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:02 PM


    you’re proving yourself to be the quintessential sophist … habitually warping another poster’s commentary or argument to patch your own

    then supporting your arguments while quoting yourself

    the list is bogging-down with people who pose nineteen different arguments then selectively choose the lucky hits to remind everyone of their brilliance

    i could care less how many times any player commits a gaffe or misses an assignment … it happens every game to every player

    it’s not a coach’s job to air those mistakes in a public forum while expecting a positive outcome … coaches who do coach losers coaches who don’t coach winners

    best current example are the leafs and oilers … both with coaches who continually single-out players for criticism … i’d expect to see that from eakins, he’s pretty green, but carlyle should know better

    oates is a lost cause … no system and no direction with what is on paper a decent enough team

    bet money on all three joining the ranks of the unemployed sooner than later

    • joey4id - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:36 PM

      Please explain how YOU would like me to proceed. There is much to learn from such a gifted commenter as yourself. We are waiting for your words of wisdom o-great one.

    • joey4id - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:44 PM

      muckflugyou, Are coaches in Florida, Calgary, Buffalo, NYI, Ott, Carolina, Nashville airing out their players mistakes in public? Must be because they are all having a horrendous season.

    • micasa81 - Apr 3, 2014 at 9:34 PM

      “the list is bogging-down with people who pose nineteen different arguments then selectively choose the lucky hits to remind everyone of their brilliance”

      ~ Gave you the thumbs-up for that sentence alone.

  11. bigolbig - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Get these lazy Russians out of the NHL.

  12. cfos00 - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    The Caps can win with Ovi, he just can’t be the best player on the team that does it. In that way he reminds me of Brett Hull, in that he brings a ton of offense to the table, but isn’t going to be bothered with little things like ‘back checking’ or ‘covering for a defenseman.’ As weird as it is to think of him like this, he’s more like a role who just happens to be the best player in the world in that role. He’s not a complete player like Toews or Tavares. He’s been in the league a long time—odds are that he is what he is and a talking to isn’t going to change things. The amazing thing to me is that GMGM still doesn’t seem to have recognized this yet.

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