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Adam Oates unplugged: Dealing with coaches


Adam Oates unplugged: Dealing with coaches

With the NHL lockout delaying the start of training camp and threatening the Oct. 11 start of the regular season, Capitals coach Adam Oates took the time to sit down for an exclusive interview with Insider Chuck Gormley.In Part Three, Oates discusses the transformation of Washington into a hockey market, his relationships with former coaches and how those will shape his relationship with his current players. Tomorrow: Connecting with Alex Ovechkin To read Part One, click here. To read Part Two click here.
CSN: When you arrived in Washington in 1997 and the Caps went to the Finals, did you see a growth in fans?

Adam Oates: No. I didnt see it. Not like it is now.

Why not, in your opinion?
I think whats really helped the franchise is building this facility Kettler Capitals Iceplex here. Obviously, coming in last actually 28th in 2003-04 and getting Ovi Alex Ovechkin with the dynamic personality he has and the players he brought around him with Nick Backstrom and Mike Green. And changing the logo back to the red and the power that comes along with Ted Leonsis and building the arena downtown and remodeling it. All that kind of stuff has really helped make the Capitals a well-liked team.

Treating everything first class
Yes. Its not that we werent treated first class, but Piney Orchard was not the environment. The environment is way more top-notch now. At least I feel it is. The culture has changed. Its always been Redskins here. Its always been Orioles here. The Ravens have fought that by coming here, right? By being out there in Piney Orchard the fans didnt get expose to us. And look at the timing. Look at Pittsburgh. They get Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and theyre back on the map. You get Ovechkin and Greenie and Nick and all of a sudden youre on the map. And Ovi wins the scoring title and his personality is huge. I personally think going back to the red was catchy. It was a lot of things.

Lets talk about some of the coaches youve had over the years. Are there any that made you see the game a different way? No question. I had a lot of coaches and you take something from every coach. There were probably some things from every coach I didnt like, too. I guess since this is my first head coaching job, I want to form my own style. I want to coach the way I wanted to be coached as a player.

Did you butt heads with coaches?
Sure, at times. Everybody does. I butted heads but I was also a guy who showed up for work. I wanted responsibility, I wanted to do more, I wanted to earn my salary. If a guy could prove himself to me Id listen.

Did you have any coaches that gave you a say in how things were done on the ice?
You didnt have those kinds of decisions in my generation. You showed up for work. If you got called in here to a coachs office it was usually bad news.

Has that changed?
Yeah. Some guys dont believe in that kind of open communication. Everybody skins a cat their own way. I had a coach who was obviously a smart man, but I could not produce for him. I showed up for work and I didnt want to be belittled.

Do you feel there has to be mutual respect between a coach and player?
I do. For me, yes.

Why is that important?
Because Im not going to be a hypocrite as a coach for what I wanted as a player. No way.

Whats the thing you wanted most from a coach?
Communication. Coach me. I wanted more. My first coaching job in Tampa, an assistant coach for Rick Tocchet, Marty St. Louis came in every day. I felt I could talk to him man-to-man and go out on the ice right afer that and coach him. I did. Look at Joe Girardi, manages the Yanks. He played with Derek Jeter and now he manages him. Somewhere along the line youve got to get that respect, because if you played with a guy that means you went out to dinner with that guy. Now you flip hats and are you a good enough communicator that Derek Jeter can handle that.

You and Jason Chimera were teammates, right?
Yeah, and you have to bridge that gap. When I played with Chimmer I was old and he was young. Now hes one of the older guys. Everybody has different stages in his career. I remember rooming with Jeff Halpern. I got benched one night at the end of my career and he was a first-year pro and I remember saying, Dont worry, youll be old like me one day. I never thought it would happen to me, either. So at the end o the day its about communication and I personally think Ill do OK because I wore every hat. I was a young guy, I was a healthy scratch, I did get benched, I did get sent to the minors, I did get traded, I did have success, I did lose, I did win.

Do you think that carries weight with players, having played the game?
I think it opens the door, but that door shuts fast if you dont know how to back it up. Im sure youve heard a lot of guys who could play the game but cant communicate it. I worked with Devils head coach Pete DeBoer last year. He didnt play in the NHL but he was a great communicator. You get respect a lot of different ways. Playing in the NHL opens the door but I have to coach them.

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5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

After losing three straight, the Capitals battled back in Game 6 on Monday. With their 3-0 win, Washington forced the Eastern Conference Final into a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday.

Here is how the Caps did it.

1. Braden Holtby matched Andrei Vasilevskiy save for save

Andrei Vasilevskiy was just as great in this game as he was in the three previous, but one of the major differences in this one was that Holtby was just as good. He may not have been tested as much (Vasilevskiy made 32 saves, Holtby 24), but he was big when the team needed.

In the second period with the scored tied at 0, Holtby made one of the most critical saves perhaps of the entire season when he denied Anthony Cirelli with the toe on a 2-on-1. When the Caps took the lead, Holtby really shut the door in the third period with 10 saves to cap off what was his fifth career playoff shutout and first shutout of the entire season.

2. T.J. Oshie’s timely goal

Over halfway into the game, it looked like it was just going to be one of those nights. Caps fans know it well by now. Washington outplays their opponent, they get chance after chance and develop a whopping advantage in shots, but they run into a hot goalie and a random play suddenly turns into a goal for the other team, game and season over.

Vasilevskiy was on his way to having perhaps his best performance of the series. Considering how he played in the three games prior to Game 6, that’s saying something. The Caps were doing everything right, but he continued to make save after save. Then on the power play in the second period, John Carlson struck the inside of the post, the horn went off and the roar of the crowd gave way to dismay as the referee waved his arms to indicate there was no goal and play continued. Just seconds later, T.J. Oshie gave the Caps the 1-0 lead.

You have to wonder if doubt was starting to creep into the back of the minds of the players when that puck struck the post as they wondered what else they had to do to beat Vasilevskiy. Luckily, that feeling didn’t last long.

3. Special teams

Braydon Coburn’s tripping penalty in the second period gave Washington its only power play of the night and its first since the second period of Game 4. They had to make it count given how well Vasilveskiy was playing and they did.

Washington now has a power play goal in each of their three wins against the Lightning and no power play goals in their three losses. So yeah, it’s significant.

Tampa Bay had two opportunities of their own, but Washington managed to kill off both power plays in the penalty kill’s best performance of the series.

4. Washington’s physical game plan

On paper, the Lightning are better than the Caps in most categories. One area in which Washington has the edge, however, is physical play and it was clear very early that they intended to use that to their advantage in Game 6. Tampa Bay was pushed around and they seemed to struggle to recover.

Ovechkin was a one-man wrecking ball out there hitting everything that moved. The energy he brought with every hit was palpable and both the team and the crowd fed on it.

Washington was credited with 39 hits on the night compared to Tampa Bay’s 19. Ovechkin had four of those as did Nicklas Backstrom while Devante Smith-Pelly contributed five and Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six.

5. Fourth line dagger

Tampa Bay’s fourth line was the story of Game 5, but Washington’s fourth line sealed the deal on Monday with its third period goal.

Chandler Stephenson beat out an icing call, forcing Braydon Coburn to play the puck along the wall. Jay Beagle picked it up, fed back to Stephenson who backhanded a pass for the perfect setup for Devante Smith-Pelly.

Smith-Pelly scored seven goals in the regular season. He now has four in the playoffs.


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Capitals vs. Lightning Game 7 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, time, TV Channel, live stream

Capitals vs. Lightning Game 7 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, time, TV Channel, live stream

Game 7.

It's the best phrase in all of hockey, and on Wednesday, May 23, Game 7 of the 2018 NHL Eastern Conference Final between the Capitals and Lightning will go down in Tampa, Fla.

The Capitals' path to Game 7 was less than ordinary. After racing to a 2-0 series lead with back-to-back road wins in Tampa, the Lightning responded with three straight wins, forcing the Capitals' to the brink of the 2017-18 season.

But in Game 6 on Tuesday night, the team put on their best performance of the season, blanking the Lightning and forcing Game 7 at Amalie Arena.

The winner of Game 7 advances to the Stanley Cup Final, where the Vegas Golden Nights await, having defeated the Winnipeg Jets to advance to the championship round in the team's inaugural season.

Game 7 Capitals at Lightning
Date: Wednesday, May 23
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Amalie Arena. Tampa, Fla.
TV Channel: NBCSN 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 FM)


Game 7 of the Capitals-Lightning 2018 NHL Eastern Conference Final takes place on Wednesday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.


The TV broadcast of Game 7 between the Capitals and Lightning is on NBC. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Game 7 Capitals vs. Lightning
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime


Game 7 of the 2018 NHL Eastern Conference Final between the Capitals and Lightning is available for online stream on the NBC Sports App. Click here for the NBC Sports live stream page.


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 digital producer JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.