TAMPA, Fla. | Adam Oates’ full comments from his Washington Capitals’ 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, his head coaching debut. Listen to audio here.
Impressions of first game
“You know what, it’s weird: three power plays to start the game, really not what you really want, just because you want to get all the guys going in the game and get the flow going. We had our chances. A lot of little mistakes, to be expected. And a little bit of conditioning; we got a little tired at times. We’ll watch the tape tomorrow and address the boys on Monday.”
Expect little mistakes because of new system?
“Yeah, I do, and I think some of the mistakes came from conditioning. We got tired at times, the game went in waves. I think some of the penalties in the third period, you can’t really give them a five-on-three to start the third period. That obviously hurt us. And we came back at the end of the second, and then to have to do it again we knew it was going to be difficult.”
Conditioning and penalty trouble?
“Yeah a little bit. Second period obviously it’s a long change and they had a couple waves on us and kind of wore us out. I think just the amount of ice time the guys got and being a little bit out of shape eventually took its toll.”
None of defensemen had played
“I thought they tried. Obviously Carly and Alzner played great. It was very difficult for the guys, so many minutes. The new system, first game. So a lot of little factors. But the guys tried hard and that’s what I asked from them before the game.”
Tough to develop chemistry right away?
“It’s tough. It’s tough. It’s going to take the guys a while. And we’ve talked about that, and hopefully we can win enough games until it becomes automatic. Tonight wasn’t our night, but there’s a lot of positives in the game and we’ll talk about that on Monday.”
Update on Jack Hillen
“Upper-body injury. Don’t know, haven’t really had a chance to talk to Smitty yet.”
Advantage to dressing seven defensemen?
“Yeah, of course I didn’t want it to be like that. But having that extra D, that was part of the reasoning.”
On Braden Holtby’s performance
“You know what, I don’t fault Holts at all on the goals. I think it was more all of us. And he played hard. Once again I’ll talk to the goalie coach and we’ll evaluate that on Monday.”
On swinging in defensive zone
“In all zones, we can’t swing. And I think that comes from conditioning. To stop and wait and go again takes way more energy than just continually moving. And I think that was part of the deal. And some of the holes get created because of that. Our penalty killing: We gave up a couple goals, we can’t do that.”
Will conditioning come or drill guys differently?
“That’s a tough call, it really is. And I think that’s the same for every team. I think going into our building will help. You feel a little better in your own barn. Get a couple games under your belt will certainly help. But we play four games in a week, so when do you try and catch up? It’s tough.”
Is that why most of teaching will come in film room?
“Yeah, for sure. Absolutely.”