NHL Power Rankings: Washington Capitals Headline Teams with Bad Starts

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NHL Power Rankings: Washington Capitals Headline Teams with Bad Starts
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

I've got to believe that the seat under Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates is searing hot right now.

His Caps sit in the Southeast Division cellar only two years removed from the team’s dominance over its division under Bruce Boudreau.

What has happened to this team?

Is Alex Ovechkin really that much worse than he used to be? Did Alexander Semin have that big of an impact on this club? Or is the rest of the division really that much better than they are?

This is still pretty much the same team that was considered a perennial Stanley Cup contender a few years ago. Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Mike Green and the aforementioned Ovechkin are all still in town. Sure, the Carolina Hurricanes have improved and the Florida Panthers won the division backed into the playoffs last year, but...really? Is that really why the Capitals are sitting in last place?

I know that Boudreau never won a championship in Washington, and coaching decisions don’t have the impact in hockey that they do in football or baseball, but Boudreau’s Anaheim Ducks are looking pretty good right now.

It’s hard to blame a coach in a short season where a rough start is much more devastating and players are more prone to injury, but the Caps weren’t really overhauled last year. They should be expected to compete with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the division right now.

I’m not telling the Capitals to fire their coach—I’ll let their fans do that—but I’d be surprised if he’s around at the end of the year.

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