A little rust was to be expected after the NHL lockout delayed the start of the Washington Capitals season by more than three months, but after a 6-3 season-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Adam Oates’ squad needs to shake it off and get those skates in line for their home-opener before it’s too late.
To start 0-2 during a normal year wouldn’t be pleasant for fans, but it’s certainly no reason to sound the alarms either. However, in a game known for its streaks, back-to-back losses to open the year could prove to be disastrous in this abbreviated 48-game season.
Craig Laughlin told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny Tuesday there’s certainly no need to panic if they don’t pull in their first ‘W’ against the Winnipeg Jets, although fans will probably start thinking about it.
“This is a new coach with new strategies, new insights and new details to the game, and it is going to take some time,” Laughlin said. “Unfortunately, if you don’t hit on it soon guys, you’re behind the eight ball. That’s the problem with the 48-game schedule.”
He says Washington looked out of rhythm against Tampa Bay, adding if you want to win in the NHL, your stars have to be stars.
“They just were out of sync,” Laughlin said. “I think when you have three new coaches over the last year and a half or whatever it’s been since Boudreau, Hunter and now Oates… Three different styles, three different systems. I thought they were not acting, they were reacting.”
Laughlin thinks goalie Braden Holtby looked as though he was having a hard time finding the puck in goal in the first game. But he believes these are all issue that can get sorted out just from playing more, especially as rookie head coach Oates gets more time to implement his system.
“We were calling for Kyle Shanahan’s head after the first six or seven games,” Laughlin said. “And then all of a sudden he looks like a genius because they were implementing a new program with RGIII.”
When the notion came up that Alexander Ovechkin had somehow been usurped in this town by the star power of Robert Griffin III and Bryce Harper, Laughlin said Ovi still belongs in the conversation.
“I think this year he’s out to prove all the pundits wrong,” he said. “That Ovechkin is still a 50-goal guy during the course of a regular season, and he’s still a superstar that every team in the league would love to have.”