Skip to content

In praise of Adam Oates

May 2, 2013, 2:15 PM EST

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. All Varlamov: Avalanche send Pickard to AHL

    Dec 28, 2014, 6:25 PM EST

    Calvin Pickard AP

    Reto Berra might not see much action going forward.

  2. Report: Blues’ Elliott medically cleared to play

    Dec 28, 2014, 5:30 PM EST

    Brian Elliott Brian Elliott

    Has been out of St. Louis’ lineup since Nov. 25.

  3. Carter Ashton returns to Leafs’ lineup

    Dec 28, 2014, 5:00 PM EST

    carterashtongetty Getty Images

    Playing for the first time since Nov. 4

  4. Report: Blackhawks’ Richards to return Monday

    Dec 28, 2014, 4:15 PM EST

    Winnipeg Jets v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    Has missed three games with an upper body injury.

  5. Letang, Hornqvist miss Pens’ practice

    Dec 28, 2014, 3:30 PM EST

    Toronto Maple Leafs v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    The forward will miss a few weeks with a lower body injury.

  6. Leafs place Komarov on IR (Updated)

    Dec 28, 2014, 2:45 PM EST

    Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs Getty Images

    Recalled goaltender Christopher Gibson from AHL.

  7. Islanders activate Halak from IR

    Dec 28, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Getty Images

    Kevin Poulin returned to Bridgeport.

  8. Predators place Derek Roy on waivers

    Dec 28, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

    Derek Roy Derek Roy

    Boston’s Matt Fraser also on the waiver wire.

  9. Steve Ott offers advice for Stars’ Ryan Garbutt

    Dec 28, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

    ryangarbuttgetty Getty Images

    The Dallas forward has been suspended three times in two seasons.

  10. Canucks recall defenseman Sanguinetti from Utica

    Dec 28, 2014, 9:45 AM EST

    Arizona Coyotes v Vancouver Canucks Arizona Coyotes v Vancouver Canucks

    Expected to serve as an extra defenseman as the Canucks visit the Ducks.

  11. Video: Red-hot power play key to Kings’ recent success

    Dec 28, 2014, 1:59 AM EST

    Darryl Sutter AP

    Darryl Sutter must like what he sees with the advantage.

  12. Lucic: Players have to step up for struggling Bruins

    Dec 27, 2014, 11:47 PM EST

    Milan Lucic Michel Cormier AP

    Some controversy in this game, too.

Featured video

Holiday wish lists for NHL teams
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Bishop (2709)
  2. C. Perry (2691)
  3. B. Elliott (2121)
  4. S. Weiss (1955)
  5. S. Crosby (1744)
  1. J. Halak (1702)
  2. S. Varlamov (1692)
  3. J. Schwartz (1691)
  4. N. Kronwall (1625)
  5. J. Howard (1607)