May 10, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT
Adam Oates’ career as a head coach hasn’t gotten off to an ideal start, but he hopes being fired after two seasons with the Washington Capitals won’t also serve as the end of his time as a bench boss.
When asked on the Fan 590 if he wants to return as a head coach next season, Oates didn’t hesitate.
“Yes I would,” Oates said. “I really really enjoyed it since I got into coaching in Tampa … working with the Caps was fantastic.”
He helped Alex Ovechkin revitalize his game, resulting in the superstar forward winning the Rocket Richard Trophy in back-to-back campaigns. Ovechkin’s resurgence also played a big role in the Capitals making the playoffs in Oates’ first campaign as a head coach.
His sophomore season in 2013-14 didn’t go nearly as well as the Capitals missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
“You can have an off year, if anything we had a bit of an off-year this year,” Oates said. “We had a couple guys hurt, things didn’t quite go the way planned.”
He pointed to Randy Carlyle in Toronto as an example of a good coach having a rough campaign and praised Toronto’s decision to extend him in spite of the Maple Leafs’ late season collapse. He also brought up Mike Babcock, who didn’t do particularly well in his sophomore season with Anaheim back in 2003-04.
Oates certainly wouldn’t mind following in Babcock’s footsteps as the former Ducks coach has gone on to do great things in Detroit and is a 2013-14 Jack Adams finalists.
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