The Washington Capitals have hired former Cap's player Adam Oates as their new head coach. Oates replaced Dale Hunter, who elected to not return to Washington. Hunter replaced Bruce Boudreau, who was fired early last season.
A formal announcement is expected this afternoon. Oates will become the 16th head coach in Caps history. He served the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils. In total, Oates has spent three seasons as an NHL assistant coach. This will be Oates' first head coaching position.
Oates played 6 season for the Washington Capitals from 1996 to 2001. During that period, Oates recorded 73 goals and 290 assists. In a total of 1,337 games played in his NHL career, Oates scored a total of 1,079 goals and added 1,420 helpers. Of the 1,079 goals, 103 of them were power play markers. He had a career plus/minus of 35.
After a season in which it seemed that team captain Alexander Ovechkin struggled at times with both Boudreau and Hunter, Oates has the experience of dealing with another Russian player, Ilya Kovolchuk , in New Jersey. That experience will likely help Oates in dealing with Ovechkin's personality.
The press release from the Washington Capitals makes it official. The release from GM George McPhee reads "We are pleased to name Adam Oates as the new head coach of the Washington Capitals. Adam was a highly intelligent player in the NHL for 19 seasons. he has been an assistant coach in our conference for the past three seasons and is prepared to lead our club as head coach."