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Peers remember Oates' Hall of Fame career


Peers remember Oates' Hall of Fame career

Tonight in Toronto Capitals coach Adam Oates will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame alongside Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure. Oates finished his NHL career with 341 goals, 1,079 assists and 1,420 points in 1,337 games.

Here is a collection of what others are saying about the 50-year-old native of Weston, Ontario

Former Caps teammate Olie Kolzig: “What I remember most is that he was always in great shape, he was the hardest worker, and how intense he was. I think one thing people don’t realize is how intense he was. He was always ready, always prepared. He was a great communicator. He could talk with everybody and anybody.

“I remember him being in the stick room and getting a bunch of guys to change the lie or curve of their stick to get a shot off and nine times out of 10 he was right. He was good at finding little things that would make players that much better.

“I think not winning a Stanley Cup might have hindered him [getting into the Hall of Fame earlier], which I don’t think is right because that can be a case of being in the right place at the right time. Maybe they finally recognized how good of a two-way hockey player he was. It was long overdue and I’m so happy for him. I was his roommate for three years and he never talked about [the Hall of Fame], but you could tell he was very passionate about the game of hockey and it’s good to see he gets his due.”

Former junior teammate Steve Thomas [via Toronto Sun]: “I had 69 goals one year on that team [the Markham Waxers] and I bet 60 of them were empty-netters. Because Adam would rather have had the assists. It was just crazy how great a passer he was. …His hand-eye co-ordination, his ability to watch plays develop. As they said with [Wayne] Gretzky, it was like he had eyes in the back of his head.”

Capitals general manager George McPhee: “We all know Adam was an exceptional offensive player -- that was a gift he had and he really developed that and he was fun to watch. I don’t know how many people understand how good he was defensively. When he played here he was our best defensive player. He was our best faceoff guy and one of the best in the league. He was our best penalty killer and our best 5-on-3 penalty killer and that part of the game is learned and he learned it well.

“One year we were about six games into the season and I remember him telling [former coach] Ron Wilson and I -- we were in the lobby of a hotel on the road – and he said, ‘Have you ever thought about putting Peter Bondra on the point on the power play?’ I said, ‘I’m not sure. How’s he going to get the puck up the ice?’ He said, ‘It doesn’t matter. We need the shot back there and I can get him the puck.’ Peter Bondra had the most power play goals in the league that year – 21. Adam would say, “Put Chris Simon on my line. He’s a space eater. It’ll work for me and it’ll work for him. And Chris Simon had 29 goals that year.”

Former Blues teammate Brett Hull [via Sports Illustrated]: “He doesn’t get as much publicity as the goal scorers, but he loves to watch you put the puck in the net. I never asked him why he didn’t want to score more himself; I was afraid he’d change his mind.”

Former Caps teammate Peter Bondra: “What got me was his skill, but he also had this confidence. We always talked about how we’d prepare for a game and I think the one thing I remember most is that he told me to never stop moving my feet, always go. He was a great teammate and I benefited from his play-making abilities. He was a great guy. He got along with everybody. I know he liked the young guys and they definitely benefitted from him. I won’t be in Toronto but I’ll be watching on TV and I’m looking forward to hearing his speech.”

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis: “He was an historic player. He controlled the game. When the puck was on his stick we had the best power play in the league. He was one of the few players, as a new owner, who would talk to me about hockey and explain to me what was going on and as a new owner I was very, very appreciative of that. I was in my office one day at Kettler and the Caps were on a road trip and Tampa was here. Our receptionist said she saw Adam Oates [who was an assistant coach with the Lightning] come into the building. I hadn’t seen Adam since he left the team and I ran over to see him because I had such positive feelings about him. We started talking and I said, ‘Let’s go down and see George [McPhee].’ We started chatting and then Adam had to get to work. I remember saying to George, ‘He’s a really smart guy, isn’t he?’ And George said, ‘Yeah, he’s the smartest player I’ve been around.’

“His attention to detail as a player was remarkable. I remember our power play was one of the best in the league and then it dipped and then it improved, like a switch went on. In the hallway I asked Adam what happened. He said, ‘Well, I watched some film and I realized I was receiving the entry pass in the wrong spot. I used to start by touching my elbow against the glass and I noticed I wasn’t doing that. That half a foot changed the whole geometry of the passing lanes. Now I touch the glass and I receive the pass.’ Just that six inches changed the passing lanes. I used to say he was like having a coach on the ice.”


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Game 73 Capitals vs. Stars Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 73 Capitals vs. Stars Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Dallas Stars

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

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


The Capitals (41-24-7) take on the Stars (38-27-8) Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.


The Capitals-Stars 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)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Stars
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Islanders game:

Alex Ovechkin -  Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Travis Boyd - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Michal Kempny - Jakub Jerabek

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body injury), Alex Chiasson, Brooks Orpik (lower body injury)


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.

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Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?


Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”