Skip to content

In praise of Adam Oates

May 2, 2013, 2:15 PM EDT

Adam Oates AP

Joel Quenneville led the Blackhawks to an amazing 36-7-5 record.

Paul MacLean helped the Senators into the playoffs despite a rash of injuries to star players.

Michel Therrien has been a great fit in Montreal.

But based on what the Washington Capitals have to say, Adam Oates deserves major consideration for NHL coach of the year.

“I’ve never had a coach that’s so in tune with his players,” forward Troy Brouwer told NHL.com. “He talks to you as if he’s still a player, but just a really smart player.”

And, of course, what can you say about the job Oates has done helping Alex Ovechkin get his scoring swagger back?

At the beginning of the season, Oates moved Ovechkin from the left wing, where the organization believed he had grown stale and predictable, to the right, where it was hoped the captain would give defenders something new to think about.

It didn’t work right away — perhaps it would’ve been a smoother transition had there been some preseason games to get comfortable — but sticking to the plan ultimately resulted in Ovechkin leading the NHL with 32 goals.

Communication, the Caps says, is one aspect where Oates excels, particularly compared to the last guy, Dale Hunter.

“It’s not a guessing game,” said d-man John Erskine, per the Washington Post. “Last year there wasn’t a lot of communication and this year’s totally different. It’s a 180.”

All compliments aside, Oates’ job wasn’t merely to get the Capitals to the playoffs. This franchise needs to have postseason success. An early exit at the hands of the Rangers and all the good work Oates has done won’t seem so commendable. They’ll just be the same old Caps that can’t get it done when it counts.

Related: Capitals-Rangers preview

Latest Posts
  1. What to do about Justin Williams

    Aug 1, 2014, 9:05 PM EDT

    Justin Williams Getty Images

    He’s a free agent after next season,

  2. So… Which Jonathan Quick is the real one?

    Aug 1, 2014, 6:03 PM EDT

    Jonathan Quick AP

    His stats and Stanley Cup victories have us perplexed.

  3. Looking to make the leap: Brayden McNabb

    Aug 1, 2014, 4:59 PM EDT

    Brayden McNabb Getty Images

    He’s gunning to make an impression on L.A.’s blue line corps.

  4. Poll: Is Drew Doughty the best defenseman in the world?

    Aug 1, 2014, 2:55 PM EDT

    Drew Doughty Getty Images

    He’s win the Cup twice and has two Olympic gold medals, but he hasn’t captured the Norris Trophy yet.

  5. Subban: Contract in arbitrator’s hands now

    Aug 1, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT

    P.K. Subban Getty Images

    Montreal and the defenseman can still negotiate until the ruling, but no talks are scheduled.

  6. Senators have ‘productive’ contract talks with Ryan, MacArthur

    Aug 1, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT

    OTTAWA, ON - DECEMBER 16: Bobby Ryan #6 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the St. Louis Blues at Canadian Tire Centre on December 16, 2013 in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Getty Images

    They’re trying to re-sign both of them this summer.

  7. Can the Kings keep scoring like they did in the playoffs?

    Aug 1, 2014, 12:03 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Seven Getty Images

    They averaged 3.38 goals per game in the postseason.

  8. Subban, Habs can’t agree to terms before arbitration hearing

    Aug 1, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT

    PK Subban AP

    They still might avoid the ruling though.

  9. Devils hire former pro poker player to head new analytics department

    Aug 1, 2014, 10:06 AM EDT

    Lou Lamoriello AP

    Sunny Mehta wrote two books on the card game, but he’s turned his attention to advanced statistics in sports.

  10. Shawn Thornton calls Florida his ‘first choice’

    Aug 1, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Shawn Thornton AP

    His relationship with Panthers GM Dale Tallon made a big difference.

  11. Under Pressure: Mike Richards

    Aug 1, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

    Mike Richards Getty Images

    Will Los Angeles regret opting against a buyout?

  12. It’s Los Angeles Kings day on PHT

    Aug 1, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty AP

    Taking a look at the 2014 champions on Friday.

  13. Devils GM shakes off 0-13 shootout record, pumps up free agent moves

    Jul 31, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Brock Nelson, Cory Schneider AP

    Lou Lamoriello says those SO struggles are “not a focus.”

  14. Photo: Joffrey Lupul chats with Jack White

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    lupulwhite

    Have fun making up captions with this one.

  15. Flyers’ Mason broke his right pinky finger playing ball hockey

    Jul 31, 2014, 7:39 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Flyers v Florida Panthers Getty Images

    The team estimates he’ll miss two weeks of on-ice training.

  16. Stars sign Glennie to one-year, two-way deal

    Jul 31, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT

    Alex Chiasson, Jack Campbell, Scott Glennie, Lindy Ruff AP

    The former first-rounder still needs to prove himself.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches