Adam Oates plans to “push the pace and be an aggressive team” when he takes over behind Washington’s bench next season; however, he doesn’t “see any reason to change” how the Capitals played under Dale Hunter, so far as the “little things” are concerned.
Echoing Oates’ sentiments, general manager George McPhee put it this way when talking about Alex Ovechkin at today’s introductory press conference: “He still might have to dump it in and block a shot once in a while.”
Yesterday, Ovechkin said he was excited at the prospect of playing for an offensive-minded coach: “It’s not blocking the shots and it’s not dump and chase.”
Thus, McPhee’s quip.
Caps associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig thinks Oates will strike a “great balance” between Hunter and the guy that preceded Hunter, Bruce Boudreau.
“Dale was a blue collar guy who believed in defensive hockey,” Kolzig told CSNWashington.com.
“When he took over [for Boudreau on Nov. 28] we were a very fragile hockey team both defensively and offensively. And the way he corrected it was by saying, ‘Hey, if we can’t score goals we can sure as hell prevent them.’ And to his credit he got all the guys to buy in. We were one game away from going to the conference finals.
“But we still maybe weren’t utilizing the players that we had.”
For example, Ovechkin, who saw limited ice time under Hunter when the Caps were trying to protect a lead, e.g. Game 2 of Washington’s second-round series against the Rangers in which Ovechkin played just 13:36.
Watch the full press conference below: