The way Capitals defenseman Mike Green describes it, Washington’s coaching saga in recent years mirrors that of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and coach Adam Oates is just right.
“It’s a balance between playing strong defense and still being able to create offense,” Green said in a CSN Washington report. “That’s really what we needed. We had polar opposites the last couple years and we’re at a point now where we need one direction.”
Oates’ tenure with the Capitals hasn’t gotten off to a great start, and there’s a good chance Washington’s five-season streak of making the playoffs is about to come to an end.
Still, Washington has gotten better as the season has progressed and Green admires Oates’ willingness to stick with his system through the bad times.
“With the amount of games he played in this league, he knows that changing things up is more of a mental stress on the team and just causes more confusion,” Green said. “He’s consistently stayed with the same system throughout the whole season and that has really helped us, especially right now.
“This is the time where we need to be confident and have our coach at an even keel and he’s been outstanding.”
Meanwhile, Oates thinks highly of Green as well and wants to see the blueliner apply that balanced approach of offense and defense to his own game, according to the Washington Post.
Oates thinks Green can develop into a Ray Bourque-style of player — one who holds his own defensively while still putting up big offensive numbers.
To that end, in what has been referred to as the Ray Bourque rule, Oates doesn’t want to see Green behind the net in the offensive zone.
“When I played with Ray, that was always Ray’s philosophy. His job was to get to the offensive zone and contribute on the offensive blueline,” Oates said. “You know, you’re not a forward, you’re a defenseman.
“At the end of the day, you’re still a defenseman. And it’s more important for us to have Mike available for those 27 minutes handling the puck than it is for him to be behind their net.”
Washington is in the middle of a three-day break and then they’ll start a road trip in Buffalo on Saturday.