Welcome Back Adam Oates - Caps Name Head Coach
Adam Oates has been named the Washington Capitals head coach. For the past two years, Oates, was assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils and went to the Stanley Cup Finals. He was also the assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009-10. Oates, who played for the Caps for parts of six seasons from 1997-2002, is the fifth straight coach hired by George McPhee that has no previous head coach experience.
Oates helped the Devils power play move from 28th in the league to 14th. McPhee is hoping Oates will bring an offensive spark with him to Washington, but still be able to maintain the defensive style that Hunter introduced, and that the New Jersey Devils are known for.
Although McPhee is not commenting on the final list of candidates, it said to have included Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland and Jon Cooper of the AHL's Norfolk Admirals. McPhee declined to talk about it at the draft but said:
"I can pick any of them and I think we'll be in good shape," he said. "They're really good candidates. The hard part is picking the best one or the best fit because they're all terrific. I've really enjoyed meeting these people and spending time with them. They're really good."
It will be interesting to see how Oates handles Ovie and Backstrom - maybe he can turn in them into the 21st Century 'Hull and Oates'. Oates' style will definitely ignite that spark in the Caps offense that was very lackluster last year, and with Green and Carlson manning the power play, we should see the Caps from three years ago.
With the coach now named, McPhee can turn all his attention to free agency on July 1st. There are a lot of names out there on the market, but McPhee holds his cards close to his chest, so it's hard to tell what moves he will make. With Mike Ribeiro already on the roster as the potential #2 center, the Caps depth is starting to take shape.
Adam Oates played for 19 seasons and finished with 1,079 assists - sixth all-time - and 1,420 points - 16th all-time.