From behind the bench during the Stanley Cup Finals as an assistant coach of the New Jersey Devils, to the Hockey hall of Fame all in the month of June, it just doesn’t get anymore exciting then that right? Well, in Adam Oates’s case, it does. Add Head Coach of the Washington Capitals to the list. After an extensive process by General Manager George McPhee to find the right coach to replace former head coach Dale Hunter, look no further then another former red shirt.
It wasn’t long after the Washington Capitals were ousted by the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, that Dale Hunter decided it was best to return home to Canada to spend more time with his family. The search was officially on for Capitals management to find a coach with the ideal hockey mind to take on a team led by super star Alex Ovechkin.
Today though, at 3pm at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, the Capitals made it official, introducing Adam Oates as their new Head Coach.
“You want intelligent guys running the bench,”George McPhee said when addressing the media. “A guy like Bill Belicheck in New England, he’s a bright guy, and you try and get the smartest guy in the room. And I just think, with Adam’s understanding of the game, his ability to articulate it, he can be that guy.”
Oates attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) on a scholarship. He played three seasons for the Engineers from 1982-1985, making the all star team each year. Eventually the 5’11 center found himself signing with the Detroit Red Wings as an undrafted free agent with a management degree to show for.
Oates appeared in 1337 NHL regular season games compiling 341 goals and 1420 points with the likes of the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Anaheim Ducks, and the Edmonton Oilers.
“Our philosophy has been to go in there and to try to find the difference makers, try to find the players with the most upside and really swing for the fences,” McPhee said. And that’s what we tried to do here. And we believe Adam Oates has the most upside and can be the real difference maker.”
The Caps new coach received a phone call from an enthusiastic Alex Ovechkin.
“It meant a lot to me,” Oates said. “He was very excited on the phone and I was very excited.”
It has been an exciting month for the newest head coach of the Washington Capitals. It’s time for Oates to bring some of that good luck to DC.
Washington Capitals Notebook
Today the Washington Capitals traded the rights to defensemen Dennis Wideman to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defensemen Jordan Henry and a 5th round pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft. Henry is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
Dennis Wideman has agreed to terms with the Calgary Flames on a five- year deal worth 26.0 million.
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Darren is the Washington Capitals correspondent. He spent the 2010-11 season covering the Atlanta Thrashers and the 2011-12 season covering the Columbus Blue Jackets. Feel free to contact him @ DKoz256@yahoo.com. You can also follow him on Twitter. DarrenCoslov