The Caps finally have a coach that can get them to beyond
their normal 1st or 2nd round playoff visits and they come into camp out of
shape? I have zero problem with them being clueless about the system and the
learning period required to gain muscle memory but they are professional hockey
players right? I watched a bunch of hockey this weekend and some teams look
like they haven't missed a beat. Some of the Caps look like they just rolled
off the couch after a few months on a Bon-Bon binge.
Now there are some qualifiers that in fairness to the Caps I
must acknowledge. None of them knew when they would be back. That said there is
a clear difference between the guys who took the extra time off to not only
stay in great shape but improve themselves versus the some of the Caps. This is
the second game that Adam Oates flat out said they lacked energy. How do you
lack energy for your home opener? Is
that even possible?
Let me put on my professional hat for a second. Hockey is the
way you feed, clothe and provide for yourself and your family. How could you
not take the time to get/keep yourself in the best shape or improve your
conditioning? This speaks to a lack of professionalism of the individuals that
did not come back in-shape enough to just make this a learning transition. I
expect Coach Oates to live with the situation he inherited this season mostly
because he really does not have much choice but he came from the Mike Keenan
and Ron Wilson schools of hockey so I guarantee you that next season he's going
to come down on the guys that remain like a bag of anvils. Oates was a guy that
was not drafted high if drafted at all so he had to work extra hard for
everything he got. I can only imagine how angry he is beneath his calm exterior
presentation. Some of these guys are taking for granted everything Oates had to
work insanely hard for.
I am disappointed because we finally have a Coach that can achieve
great things and some of our players did not have enough discipline/intestinal
fortitude to stay in shape so they could give their team a chance to compete
this season. We all knew going in that learning the system to the point of
muscle memory would take time but coming back out of shape just retards the
process. I love the Caps but this is spirit crushing. Based on their first two
performances the expectation level is dropping to the point where the best hope
is that in 20-25 games they start to at least show they are on the same page
with regard to the Oates system which will mirror what you saw in New Jersey
last season and a little of what Tampa is doing power play wise. Don't knock it
because New was a Cup finalist last season. Are these guys serious about winning or what? That is a legitimate question to ask.
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