Schoenfeld: Caps set for turnaround

March 12, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

Washington Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld is one of the most positive men anyone could hope to meet.

Even after back-to-back losses to Boston and the New York Rangers this week, which revealed some of the Capitals old inconsistencies, and learning that injured goalie Rick Tabaracci will be unable to even skate again until the middle of next week, Schoenfeld said he is sure his message is getting through.

"We're going to win [tonight against the Quebec Nordiques]," he said. "I think everything is coming up roses."

But the coach did hold a mid-ice meeting yesterday, to remind the Capitals that they have to play consistently for three periods. It sounded a lot like the mid-ice meetings former coach Terry Murray used to hold, when he was left wondering why the Capitals would stop doing what was working in the middle of a game.

Schoenfeld got a look at those Capitals on Wednesday in a 7-5 loss to the Rangers, in which they allowed the game to get away in the second period.

"You've got to try to get the players to realize that if we play at the top of our game, we can compete with anyone in the league," Schoenfeld said.

"But when we deviate even a little bit, we have a hard time beating anybody.

"How do you do it? That's the challenge. You can only instruct, inspire and condition. But the players play the game and it has to come from them."

On Wednesday, Schoenfeld tried to inspire his team to a bigger effort by starting rookie goalie Olaf Kolzig against the New York Rangers, even after Kolzig was blitzed for three goals and pulled in the first period in the previous game against Boston.

"I felt he deserved another kick at the can and I wanted to see how our team would respond, how they'd rally round this kid," he said. "I was a little disappointed on both levels."

Kolzig has returned to Portland and goalie Byron Dafoe is to join the Caps today, to back up Don Beaupre.

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