Washington Capitals: 4 Reasons the Caps Should Hire Adam Oates as Head Coach
When the Washington Capitals hired Dale Hunter to replace Bruce Boudreau in November 2011, it was hoped the organization would get a long-term coach to led the team to the Stanley Cup.
However, a mere 14 playoff games later, in May, Hunter informed the team he would not return, and so, general manager George McPhee is searching for a coach again.
McPhee will have several options on the table, including, for example, coaching veteran Marc Crawford, Caps assistant Dean Evason, and former Caps playoff hero Ron Wilson.
One name that has been discussed in the Caps community as a potential option for the Caps is that of Adam Oates, ex-Cap and current New Jersey Devils assistant. With the Devils' season finally over, McPhee could approach Oates.
Here are four reasons why he should.
4. Power Play Proficiency
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In his NHL career, Adam Oates was an 1000+ point player, who made his name through being an extremely skillful player, scintillating playmaker, and excellent special teams feature.
He has continued that into his coaching career.
Oates entered the NHL as a coach when he was hired as an assistant for Tampa Bay in October 2009. In his first season with the Bolts, Oates ran a power play that ended with the eighth best success rate (19.3 percent) in the NHL, despite the team not making the playoffs. Oates joined the New Jersey Devils as an assistant in June 2010, and this season led the power play of a traditionally defense-first team to a 17.2 percent success rate.
The Washington Capitals, who led the league in power play efficiency with 25.1 percent in 2009-10, have finished 16th and 18th in the league respectively over the past two seasons in the category, and badly need a coach who can get the extra-man unit working as it should with the players the Caps can provide.
Adam Oates is the man to do it.
3. History Within the Organization
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Oates spent six seasons of a dominant 19-year NHL career in the District, playing 384 games for the Caps.
In that time, he scored 73 goals and recorded 290 assists for 363 points.
Furthermore, Oates spent five seasons playing for his potential new boss in general manager George McPhee.
Oates knows the city and the organization well, and would likely be willing to return to the team in a head coaching capacity.
Like Dale Hunter, Adam Oates has great history within the Washington Capitals organization, and that could make him a prime candidate for the Caps.
2. Knowledge of What It Takes to Be a Superstar
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In a 19-year NHL career, Adam Oates appeared in 1337 games, recording 1420 points, a number which places him 16th on the all-time points leader list.
Among all retired NHL players, he is the leading point scorer of those who have yet to be inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame.
In the Alex Ovechkin era, the Washington Capitals have had three coaches come and go: Glen Hanlon, a former backup goalie, Bruce Boudreau, a career AHLer, and Dale Hunter, a heart-and-soul forward.
None of those coaches know what it's like to have Ovechkin-esque superstar status and, as a result, have trouble dealing with the Caps' stars.
Adam Oates was one of the NHL's top players during his years in the league. He has those experiences. He would do a better job of managing the team's best players.
1. Hunger to Win a Stanley Cup
The Devils' run to the Stanley Cup finals this postseason marked the third time Adam Oates has seen his team go all the way to the finals and fall short.
In 1997-98, his second season with the Caps, Oates recorded 76 regular season points to help his team to the playoffs. Once there, he would post 17 points in 21 games, but watch as his team was swept in the finals by the Detroit Red Wings.
Oates would again reach the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2002-03, his penultimate season in the NHL, with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. They lost in seven games to the New Jersey Devils.
This season, Oates came within two wins of the hallowed Cup, but was bested by the Los Angeles Kings.
Oates has come close to winning the Stanley Cup, but has never gone all the way. More than most coaches potentially on the Caps wish-list, Adam Oates wants to win.