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Latest Dale Hunter Items
Is he the brilliant, athletic marvel we saw in 2012 who made us dream of annual Super Bowl championship parades? The guy who could save the world, let alone the Redskins? Or is he the seemingly confused fellow we've watched much of 2013, who appears to lock in on receivers too easily, who doesn't seem to have a firm grasp on reading defenses and who has already thrown twice as many interceptions (10) as he did all of 2012?
Dale Hunter's 2012 team flipped a switch when the playoffs began. Adam Oates' team showed in Game 1 against the Rangers that nothing changed from the regular season.
The Capitals' reputation as a team that can't get it done in the playoffs is well-established. Here's a look at how each playoff exit happened, with some help from ex-coach Bruce Boudreau.
After a victory late in the regular season that included two goals by Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom was asked if it felt like the "good old days" when the franchise cornerstones powered a high-scoring team. "It depends how it is in the playoffs," he said. "And we weren't that successful in the playoffs in the past."
Putting the 27-year-old offensive superstar into all-around situations is what the Caps' coach called "part of evolving his game." Oates won't treat Ovechkin like a liability in one-goal games like Dale Hunter did. Instead, he relies on Ovechkin in all situations.
Most of these Washington Capitals players aren't used to needing to climb the standings to get into playoff contention.
Ovechkin still enjoys scoring goals, but he's no longer the kid at Christmas he used to be. The goals don't come quite as easily anymore, at least not often enough to drown out the wave of criticism around him.
Erskine has consistently played in a top-four role this season, making the most out of his clean slate during the Adam Oates regime.
While an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils, Adam Oates watched the Washington Capitals' playoff series against the New York Rangers with a careful eye. The Devils were set to face the winner, so Oates got the chance to watch goaltender Braden Holtby's standout performance.