The Washington Capitals have named former Bruins and Capitals center, and new Hockey Hall-of-Famer, Adam Oates as their new coach.
The 49-year-old Oates, who spent six seasons as a standout player in Boston, becomes the 16th coach in Capitals franchise history.
Former Capitals coach Dale Hunter resigned on May 14 after completing the 2011-12 season that Bruce Boudreau began before he was fired in late November.
"Adam was a highly intelligent player in the NHL for 19 seasons," Capitals general manager George McPhee said in a statement. "He has been an assistant coach in our conference for the past three seasons and is prepared to lead our club as head coach."
On the same day Oates was named the Caps coach, he joins Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Oates, who will be formally introduced at a news conference Wednesday, has spent the last three seasons as an NHL assistant, first with the Tampa Bay Lightning before moving to the New Jersey Devils in 2010. He was part of the staff that helped lead the Devils to this year's Stanley Cup finals, which they lost to the Los Angeles Kings.
His most formidable task will be to develop a playing style that best suits a Capitals roster brimming with talent and that can also succeed in the playoffs. Led by Alex Ovechkin, Washington won four consecutive Southeast Division titles under offensive-minded coach Bruce Boudreau but couldn't advance beyond the second round of the postseason.
Boudreau was fired in November after an early-season slump and was replaced by the defense-first Hunter. Hunter eventually rallied the players enough to get them back in the playoffs but couldn't push them to the conference finals.
Oates played in the NHL from 1985-2004, appearing in 1,337 games while scoring 341 goals with 1,079 assists for Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton. Only Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux have averaged more assists-per-game than Oates in the NHL history, and only Gretzky (662) had more assists than Oates (636) during the 1990s.
In 1997, the Bruins traded the disgruntled Oates along with goaltender Bill Ranford and forward Rick Tocchet to the Capitals in a blockbuster six-player deal. In exchange for three of their best players, the Bruins received goaltender Jim Carey, centers Jason Allison and Anson Carter, and a 1997 third-round draft choice. The deal was one of the biggest in National Hockey League history at the time.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this update.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer