Schoenfeld, Caps ready for results

February 01, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

For Jim Schoenfeld, who has been the Washington Capitals head coach for six days, the honeymoon is over.

"We are looking for instant results," said Capitals team president Dick Patrick. "There is no time to slip back or even hold steady. We need to win to make the playoffs."

It is up to Schoenfeld, who replaced coach Terry Murray Thursday, to get the job done. And Schoenfeld has a record for rallies. He took over the New Jersey Devils with 30 games left in 1987-88 and took them to within one game of the Stanley Cup finals.

Yesterday, he expressed confidence in the team's ability to make good things happen.

"I have a lot of players who aren't afraid of hard work," he said. "What we have to do now is get them to work intelligently."

He said he is installing a simple, workable system he hopes the team will perfect.

"What happens in a system like that is players become interdependent," he said. "They know what is to be expected from their teammates, and it makes their role easier. Example: a three-on-three rush of our defensemen. The defensemen know the winger is going to lock on the side and have good coverage, and they have confidence to focus on the man they're suppose to focus on. Our goaltender knows to focus on the shooter, that he doesn't have to worry about a cross pass.

"So we're looking for accountability within the dressing room. We're looking for players to buy in to one system . . . and then go out and execute it. After meeting them, I know they are willing to try new things and make a commitment."

Schoenfeld was to hold his first full practice at the Piney Orchard Ice Rink at noon today. He hoped to know who his new assistant coach would be by then, too.

When Murray was fired last week, so was assistant coach John Perpich. Murray's other assistant, Keith Allain, was to be reassigned as a goaltender coach in the organization. Yesterday, Schoenfeld said he has talked with Allain and wants to make his job more specific.

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