imo it's 'mostly' about the style of game that oates has ovi playing in VS bruce's. bruce forced ovi into the defensive role. oates basically seems to be letting him do what he's best at and letting the defense come to him naturally. he's not throwing him in during situations where they're up 1 goal with 5m in the 3rd. he seems to want to win more under oates, too. def expect a little bit of a resurgence from him whenever the nhl resumes.
No, if anything, he wanted him to play some responsible hockey, or at least show some interest in the defensive zone. He wasn't putting him out there to kill penalties.
"letting the defense come to him naturally." Don't hold your breath.
As a Caps fan I'm hopeful but skeptical. He has two points in two games (in a low scoring league), and he looks pretty good, but we've seen this thread a dozen times for a reason. If he leads the KHL in scoring I'll get more excited.