Washington Capitals: 4 Things New Head Coach Adam Oates Must Do to Win a Cup
Since 2007-08, the Washington Capitals have won four Southeast Division titles and have topped 100 points three times.
But despite seeing three coaches come and go, the team has yet to advance beyond the Eastern Conference semifinals in the Stanley Cup playoffs in the Alex Ovechkin era.
Adam Oates could be the Caps' last hope to win a Cup with the current generation of players.
Here are four things Oates must do to bring Washington D.C. its first Stanley Cup.
4. Revive the Capitals' Struggling Power Play
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In 2009-10, the year the team won the Presidents' Trophy under Bruce Boudreau, the Washington Capitals led the NHL with a dominating 25.2 power-play percentage.
In 2010-11, however, that percentage dropped to a lowly 17.5, good for 16th in the league. Last season, the percentage dropped further to 16.7, 18th in the league.
Simply put, an effective power play is key to the Washington Capitals' success, and the power play has not been effective recently.
This season, Oates led a potent New Jersey Devils power play, and with the firepower the Caps can provide, he should be able to lead the Caps back to special-teams proficiency.
3. Give the Superstars More Ice Time
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In the 2011-12 playoffs, Dale Hunter operated a reward-based ice-time system in which players playing well were given more time on the ice.
The system worked well in theory, as players like Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks stepped up, but when the Caps needed goals and Hunter refused to play his superstars, the team faltered.
It needs to be a priority for Oates to find a balance between rewarding players for positive performance and allowing his point-producing players to play as much as possible.
2. Get Filip Forsberg to the NHL as Soon as Possible
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Since being drafted 26th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has received tremendous hype. He has seen his talent take off to the point where he is now considered to be the most talented player currently not playing in North America (he was voted the league's top prospect by The Hockey News).
New Caps prospect Filip Forsberg, drafted 11th overall in 2012, is already that good.
A dynamic offensive player, the Swede has the potential to revolutionize the Caps offense. The most talented player to be drafted by Washington since Nicklas Bäckström, the 17-year-old brings a lethal shot, a good two-way game, a physical side and deadly goal scoring skills, all qualities that were in short supply at the Verizon Center last season.
Filip Forsberg is going to play a major role in bringing a Stanley Cup to Washington. To have success, Adam Oates must bring Forsberg over the Atlantic and to the NHL as quickly as possible.
1. The Washington Capitals Must Play an Offensive Style
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After a debilitating 7-0 loss against the New York Rangers on December 12, 2010, Caps coach Bruce Boudreau decided to switch to a defensive-minded style.
Two sub-90-point seasons for two-time Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin later and the Caps have gotten no closer to bringing home the hallowed Stanley Cup.
This team was drafted to be an attacking one. Nicklas Bäckström, Mike Green, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin are offensive-minded players.
It is baffling that these players have been forced to play a defensive brand of hockey.
The defensive experiment has failed to succeed and the Capitals must return to an offense-first system.