Hi! I’m writing these posts as part of a Write-A-Thon to benefit 826 Boston, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for area kids at which I volunteer. If you want to make a donation, you can click right here. Thanks!
The Washington Capitals announced today that in addition to sending a number of their very good young prospects down to play in Hershey of the AHL — including Braden Holtby, Dmitry Orlov, Stanislav Galiev, and maybe one or two other guys I’m forgetting — they would also be sending their coach.
Yeah, I don’t know how or why, but Adam Oates will be the co-coach of the Hershey Bears for the duration of the lockout. Well, I guess the why part is easy enough to explain. Oates had been an NHL assistant for the last three seasons, including two in Tampa (where he worked a lot with Steven Stamkos and probably helped him become the player that’s going to be scoring 60 for a while) and last season in New Jersey. But he hasn’t been a head coach at any level.
Thus, this gives him a bit of experience where the stakes aren’t necessarily high to get on guys who half-ass it on the backcheck and generally learn a little bit more about being a head coach that he would sitting in his office fooling around with MSPaint all day. (I assume the Caps aren’t up on Macs.) Also helps the Caps players who will be playing for him to get a jump on learning his new systems, of which there will likely be many. Probably also doesn’t hurt to be running the same system at all levels of your organization.
But the how, I guess, is less clear. I mean I guess there’s nothing in the rules that says an NHL head coach can’t ride the bus if he so chooses. And what’s really crazy, and being reported considerably less is this whole thing:
Washington assistant coaches Calle Johansson, Tim Hunter, Blaine Forsythe, along with goaltending coaches Dave Prior and Olie Kolzig, will also be involved with Hershey to varying degrees while the NHL season is on hold. Some may assist with the organization’s ECHL affiliate, the Reading Royals, as well.
Man. That’s going to be very good for development of players throughout Washington’s system.
So maybe the real question is why every NHL team, especially those for which their farm team is a short drive away, isn’t doing exactly this. Imagine Danny Bylsma yelling at a ref in Wilkes-Barre? Or Claude Julien drawing up defensive schemes in Providence? Or John Tortorella swearing up a storm over questions he doesn’t like in Connecticut Whale pressers? That would be awesome.
This is something Caps and Bears fans alike should be looking forward to. The former because it will give them and the team’s players a bit of a preview of how they can expect things to go. The latter because, until the NHL starts up again, the power play is going to run at about 40 percent.
Don’t forget to donate to 826 Boston. Thanks again.