Fear not DC. The Washington Capitals and that now-engaged Russian heart throb Ovechkin are back to help fill the void left by the earlier than expected playoffs exit of the Redskins and an RG3 on the mend.
Before RG3 fever overtook the nation’s capital, there was Ovi fever, right? Eh, well kind of.
The Capitals may be back, but following yesterday’s home-opener loss to the Winnipeg Jets 4-2, the team clearly has some things to work on if they are going to get back to the glory days.
Clearly I say this all with a grain of salt. This will be a new start for the team at the hands of first-time NHL coach, former Capitals player Adam Oates. He follows the firing of Bruce Boudreau, and then the subsequent firing of his replacement, former Capitals player Dale Hunter.
The Capitals have qualified for the playoffs the last five seasons, but have failed to get their team to that illustrious trophy spot. Furthermore, their faithful leader Ovechkin has seen his prime-time 50+ goal seasons drop to 32 goals last season.
Oates will certainly have his work cut out for him.
The first-time coach is implementing a new system that speeds up the pace with an aggressive offense while still making sure the defensive line is on point. Within this system he’ll be letting Ovechkin loose, trying to get the Caps star back to his prime, while also hoping to rack up the goals on the board.
Additionally, the short amount of time the Capitals have to get back into the swing of things will make this even more of an uphill battle. All 30 NHL teams had a six-day training camp to square away any immediate issues, but for the Caps the disadvantage is Oates is teaching a completely new way of doing things in such a short amount of time.
Oates approach comes with another unique feature; he is dealing with the defensive line directly. While an unusual move, given an assistant usually addresses the defense, it seems to be welcomed by the players and something that is helping Oates earn their trust even more.
And following yesterday’s loss, the Capitals are going to seem to need that trust, given the new system is appearing to need some work, especially the defensive line.
But that said, this is a roster capable of getting to the playoffs. And with a coach looking to get them back to the aggressive play they were once known for, this could be pretty exciting to watch.