WASHINGTON, DC — He has tremendous upside. He's well-prepared, and rarely makes a mental mistake on the ice. He's known as a dynamic offensive player, but his defense is just as stellar. His hockey IQ is off the charts.
Washington Capitals GM George McPhee was describing a hell of a hockey player. Which is something that Adam Oates was during his 19-year NHL career, validated with a Hall of Fame selection this week.
Less defined are Oates's accomplishments as a head coach. This is due to the fact that he's never been one.
Oates was formally introduced by the Capitals on Wednesday, 24 hours after he was hired for his first NHL head coaching gig and selected for the Hall of Fame in the same afternoon. (Remember that next time you find a dollar on the sidewalk and consider it a "lucky day.")
McPhee, who was Oates's GM during parts of six seasons in Washington, said that the former New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach was the choice he kept returning to during the team's coaching search.
"We believe Adam Oates has a lot of upside, and can be a real difference-maker for the club," said McPhee.
Said Capitals owner Ted Leonsis: "Not only will Adam be a very productive coach for us, he also shares having a chip on his shoulder. We're at that point where we have to do better in the playoffs. We have to win a Stanley Cup."
The Capitals still believe the foundation for a championship team is there. Despite never having been a head coach, they believe Oates is the man to lead them to the Cup.Read More »from Coach Adam Oates vs. the inexperience question for the Washington Capitals