Washington Capitals: How Long Is Adam Oates Leash If Caps Keep Losing?

Barry LeonardAnalyst IIIFebruary 1, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22:  Head coach Adam Oates of the Washington Capitals watches the game against the Winnipeg Jets at the Verizon Center on January 22, 2013 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals entered the 2013 NHL season with a lot of optimism. They came in with a healthy roster, a young goalie who performed well in last year's playoffs and a new coach who promised to bring the offense back to D.C. However, instead of being the solution in Washington, head coach Adam Oates could soon be out of a job.

So far, this season has not gone as expected for the Caps. Washington is sitting in the basement of the Southeast division, only managing three points through its first seven games. The Capitals rank 25th in scoring, with just 2.1 goals a game.

The Capitals feature one of the greatest goal-scorers in Alex Ovechkin and two of the best passers in the game with, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Ribeiro. In spite of a talented roster, Washington can't find a way to put it all together.

The defense looks lost and unable to stop any opponent. The Caps are consistently out-shot in each game, making things tough on whoever is between the pipes. Mental errors like untimely penalties and turnovers in the defensive zone have also plagued the team all season.

In their most recent game at Toronto, the Capitals gave the Maple Leafs eight power-play chances and were out-shot 40-22 for the game.

Clearly, the new system has yet to start working.

With all that is going wrong, the question has to be asked: how long will the front office put up with the struggles before making a change behind the bench?

Oates has been unable so far to get his team to work together. Much of that could be blamed on the lockout and the lack of practice time, but it still falls on the head coach. His experiment of moving Ovechkin to the right wing has also failed. The star winger looked out of sync on that side and has only scored two goals in 2013.

Washington has already showed that it's not afraid to make a coaching change in the middle of a season. Beloved coach Bruce Boudreau was fired in November last season while the Caps were in the midst of a slump.

One has to think that if things don't improve quickly, say within two weeks, Washington will be looking for its fourth coach in just two years.