There is a new trend in town down in DC and Ted Leonsis is confident that it will bring the first ever Lord Stanley Trophy to our nation’s capitol. Adam Oates, former Center and Captain for our beloved Washington Capitals, has been named the new play-caller. Ironically he took over the Captain position from the same guy he takes over the coaching position, Dale Hunter. If this trend continues I can correctly predict the next coach of the Washington Capitals to be shared by Steve Konowalchuk and Brendan Witt who were Co-Captains after Oates was holding it from 1999 to 2001. Oates played five seasons and change with the Capitals, almost half of the 12 that Hunter played for the boys who now “rock the red.” He scored 73 regular season goals and six goals during the Capitals run towards the Stanley Cup Finals before getting swept by Detroit. He played with seven different NHL organizations with the Caps and Bruins tied for his longest stint with one professional organization.
Oates played with some great players during his time in Washington: Peter Bondra, Olaf Kölzig, Sergei Gonchar, and Dale Hunter headlining the squad. Now he will get the opportunity to coach one of the greatest players in the NHL over the last decade, Alexander Ovechkin. He was a captain on the ice and he’ll have to be a captain on the bench to get our boys a chance to hold Lord Stanley’s trophy. Hunter did an outstanding job after coming into a pretty horrible season’s start replacing Gabby, and turning the Caps into competitors. That is something that us Caps fans have grown to expect over the last few years since the change from Blue sweaters to Red. With expectations high, Oates has a lot of pressure. But owner Ted Leonsis has all the confidence in the world in #77 to come through for the city. After all, he was just an assistant for Stanley Cup runner up’s New Jersey. After watching the Kings hoist the trophy in the air, DC should hope and assume Oates is ready and hungry for a Stanley Cup of his own, since he is 0-3 in chances (the third was with the Mighty Ducks, yes the old Mighty Ducks in 2003 who lost to the Devils).
After staying up in London until 5 a.m. the day before a final several times to watch Dale Hunter’s boys give their best fight on the rink that we’ve seen in a few seasons in the playoffs for the Caps, it was sad to see Dale Hunter head back to ironically the city I was in, London, to coach the London Knights…only difference is, this is London, Ontario and not London, England.