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Oates says he's ready and waiting


Oates says he's ready and waiting

Adam Oates is like every other passionate hockey fan in North America. He wakes up every morning, goes on the internet to see if there are any new developments on the NHL labor front, then heads to work.

Only when Oates shows up at his office at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, there’s no one else there.

The Capitals’ 50-year-old coach completed his six-week stint as co-coach of the Hershey Bears last week and now spends his days huddling with assistant coaches Calle Johansson and Tim Hunter in an attempt to come up with a game plan for an NHL season that is growing shorter by the day.  

“I can’t imagine it will be too much longer before we know something,” Oates said Thursday while negotiating committees from the NHL and its players’ association met with federal mediators.

“We’re preparing in case [a settlement] happens. Obviously, I feel that if it does happen we’ll get a little mini-camp so there will be a couple things we’ll ask the guys to do and try to get that down as quickly as we can.”

Although Oates is not permitted to speak publicly about the lockout, he said he hopes and believes there will be an abbreviated NHL season and he wants to be prepared for when that happens.

In Hershey, Oates and Johansson joined the coaching staff of Mark French and Troy Mann and came up with a system of play that is expected to be used by both the Capitals and their AHL farm team. The Bears went 6-9 in the 15 games Oates and French shared duties behind the bench.

“The uncomfortable part was the first couple days and it was only uncomfortable because we were all trying not to step on each others’ toes and do the right thing,” Oates said. “On the surface the idea is great, but to actually go through it and make it work took a couple days. But after that it was great.

“They were very gracious allowing us to come down and work with them. We’re grown men and it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world for all of us, but it was good because we got to talk hockey every day and with more guys you get more opinions.”

After three seasons as an NHL assistant, Oates said he was happy to run his own practices, conduct his own meetings and work a bench for the first time. All in all, he said it was a positive experience that lasted just long enough. Oates’ final game behind the Bears bench was the night before Thanksgiving.

“I think there’s a point in time where it is their team, their show and let them move forward,” he said.

Oates said it was important for him and Johansson to work together with the forward and defensive rotations and to get to know each other as coaches. Oates said Hunter spent the past six weeks between Hershey and his home in Toronto.

“Calle and I spent the whole time together,” Oates said. “Both of us know each other as players but to coach together in that capacity and get used to using the same terms is always positive.”

Oates said he was impressed with the Capitals’ top prospects, saying Braden Holtby is an NHL-ready goaltender and defensemen Dmitry Orlov, Tomas Kundratek and Cam Schilling are on the right course to the NHL.

Capitals fans will have a chance to see the organization’s top prospects Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. when the Bears face the Norfolk Admirals at Verizon Center. The game is considered a home game for the Admirals and already it’s a virtual sellout, with only single tickets remaining in the upper levels.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Oates said. “It gives the fans a chance to see the prospects and be a part of another event. And for the players I think it’s great because you’re going into an NHL building.”

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3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia


3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia

Playing three games in four days takes a toll on even the fittest athletes, and it was their sluggish start that doomed the Capitals in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

After being noncomittal about his starting goalie all weekend, Coach Barry Trotz put Philipp Grubauer in net. Grubauer ended up making 29 saves on 34 shots. Offensively, the Caps got goals from Alex Ovechkin, Chandler Stephenson, and John Carlson. Carlson's third period goal cut the Flyers' lead to two with a little over three minutes to go, but a Jakub Voracek empty-netter a few moments later was the nail in the coffin. 

Here are your three stars from the game: 

1. Travis Boyd had the play of the game for the Capitals. Boyd carried the puck into the Flyer's zone, cut through multiple defenders and fired a slick shot to a streaking Ovechkin, who burried the puck in the back of the net. Check it out: 

Not only was the play nice on its own, but it was Boyd's first NHL point. Not a bad way to get it. 

2. Shayne Gostisbehere​ got the Flyers going with his goal in the first period. The defenseman had one goal on five shots along with being an intimidating force in the defensive zone. After going six weeks without scoring, today's goal was Gostisbehere's second goal in three games. 

3. Wayne Simmonds was the best offensive player on the ice on Sunday, scoring twice - both in the final period. It was the 22nd and 23rd goals of the season for the 29-year-old winger. It was also the first multi-goal game for Simmonds since Opening Night, when he had two against San Jose. 

The Caps hit the ice next on Tuesday, when they welcome the Dallas Stars to the Capital One Center. 

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Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

When: 5:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Flyers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Flyers game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (41-23-7) take on the Flyers (36-25-11) Sunday, March 18 at 5:00 p.m. ET in Philadelphia.


The Capitals-Flyers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

4:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
4:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
5:00 p.m. — Capitals at Flyers
7:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
8:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
9:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


The Capitals-Flyers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.