Adam Oates compiled quite a collection of memories in his Hall of Fame playing career, but as the new Capitals coach noted Monday, he never got the experience many of the organization’s top up-and-comers will get this week.
After guiding players through a morning practice and an afternoon scrimmage to kick off development camp, Oates thought back on the start of his pro career. He said he didn’t get his first taste of life in the NHL until after graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
“I think it would be an advantage,” Oates said of the six-day camp. “I would hope that when you’re a young kid you’re excited about coming into the big building and seeing, ‘This is the home of the Caps.’” Even the video session today, they’re in a real theater room, and it’s all pro here. It would’ve been a great feeling.”
In his first on-ice appearance since being hired on June 26, Oates wore red team warmup gear and a red hat and kept the intensity high throughout a pair of split-squad morning practices. The former Capital later praised the players for their effort during the scrimmage.
While Oates remained tightlipped about the team’s assistant coach ing search and declined to single out any individual players who stood out Monday, he acknowledged “some butterflies” to begin the day. He said he also worked in a morning video screening, where he gave the players a brief glimpse of the system he will install with the Caps in the fall.
“They’re a little nervous,” Oates said. “They want to show what they’ve got. They’re going to have a lot of scrimmages, so we don’t want to overwhelm them with too much system stuff right now.”
Oates and the development campers got back on the ice at 9 a.m. on Tuesday for another round of split-squad practices, with a scrimmage to follow at 2:45 p.m. Roster and more can be found here.