Adam Oates on Caps loss to Winnipeg
When Mathieu Perreault signed a two-year, $2.1 million contract extension with the Capitals last summer, he told reporters, “This is where I wanted to be.”
Two games into the season Perreault apparently told the French-language website La Presse that if coach Adam Oates doesn’t plan on playing him more than five minutes a game, he’d like to be traded.
In a Google translation of the story, Perreault, 25, is quoted as saying, “Whatever the coach every year it is the same case and the [GM] did not seem to change anything there. They traded me if I no longer appears in the plans ...
"It's hard on morale. I try to stay positive, but I not endure it for two years. "
Perreault, whose 16 goals were tied for fifth on the Caps last season, saw just 3:52 of ice time in the Caps’ season-opening 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning and just 4:58 in their 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.
"I come here and it's as if I was not part of the team,” Perreault said in the French translation. “I'm just asking a little more ice time.”
Perreault made it clear on Thursday that he has not asked general manager George McPhee or Oates to be traded, but it wasn’t long before his comments found their way to Oates, who is expected to use Perreault on a fourth line tonight against the Montreal Canadiens, behind centers Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Ribeiro and Jay Beagle. Oates said he spoke with Perreault about his comments.
“Basically, the point is if you’ve got a beef, no problem,” Oates said. “Let’s just talk about it.”
Oates said he explained to Perreault that because of all of the special teams play in the first game of the season in Tampa, he couldn’t get the 24-year-old center on the ice as much as he wanted.
“In the second period he hadn’t played and on his first shift he got caught out there,” Oates said. “We called timeout and when he came off I actually apologized to him on the bench that I didn’t have a chance to get him in the game. I’m still learning my players and they’re still learning me.
“I obviously want to get that guy more ice time. The other night [against Winnipeg] was kind of no different. We were behind so I wanted to get the other guys to produce before him. But he’s going to get his chance.”
On Thursday, Perreault said he’s “fine” with playing on the third or fourth line with the Capitals but is not happy playing less than 5 minutes a game.
“I would like to get a little more, which is normal,” he said. “No one would want to play that kind of minutes. It’s early in the season, it’s only two games in. I’m staying positive and looking forward to the next few games.”
Perreault acknowledged that he had to prove himself to Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter last season and is back at square one with Oates.
“Every time I have to show what I can do,” he said. “I want to show him what I can do but I gotta get more minutes to show what I can do.”