Updates in reverse-chronological order:
— That’s it for now. Katie will have a post soon, and more to come on that Wideman trade as well. Stay tuned.
— Oates and Ovechkin spoke, said he seemed enthusiastic but they’ll have to meet and get to know each other better. Said his favorite thing about Ovechkin is how excited he is not just when he scores, but when his teammates score.
McPhee chimes in on Ovechkin: “He’ll still have to dump it in and block a shot every once in a while.”
— Says centers Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Ribeiro “make their teammates better...down the middle, the team is very solid.”
— Oates on the power play: “The Capitals’ model has been the model I believed in when I played here and the model I go by.” Footwork, positions, everybody understanding his role.
— Oates on how the franchise has changed: Said when he was named captain back in 1999, it was in front of the White House and there was no press there to watch.
— Oates on Caps goalies: No committment to either Braden Holtby or Michal Neuvirth going into training camp.
— Back to Oates: Says he’s going to sit down with Alex Ovechkin when he gets back to town. “The physical element of his game is unprecedented.” Thinks he can add to Ovechkin’s game but “he’s got to earn my trust as a coach first.” (He might have meant that the other way around.)
On how he helped Ilya Kovalchuk change his game in New Jersey: “He made those adjustments willingly...really, he had to be showed some things... he just needed to learn a little bit about the game. Even the superstars need to be coached once in a while.”
— Outside of the news conference, looks like the Caps are still working. Via TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Washington trades pending UFA defenseman Dennis Wideman’s rights to Calgary for defenseman Jordan Henry and a fifth-round pick in 2013. Wideman gets a five-year deal for $5.25 million per year. Update: More on that here.
(Sorry, no idea what Ted Leonsis just said. Something about the collective goal being to win the Cup, etc. The usual.)
— Oates on the Caps’ style moving forward: Wants to “push the pace,” said he told McPhee he saw Caps had much more committment in playoffs to doing “the little things,” and that’s something he wouldn’t change.
— McPhee on why his last three hires have been without NHL head coaching experience: “It’s not that I like first-time coaches...we just wanted to find the best one.”
— McPhee says Oates is diligent with his preparation. As a player, “he was always ready. He never made mental mistakes.” Compares Oates to Patriots Coach Bill Belichick. “You try to get the smartest guy in the room.”
— Oates said it took him “five seconds — when I picked up the phone” to say yes to McPhee’s offer.
— Presser is underway. McPhee thanks Devils for letting him interview Oates, says Caps’ goal was to “hire the guy with the most upside.”
“In terms of his hockey IQ, I don’t know there’s a player that I’ve met that’s better,” McPhee added.
McPhee said Oates was Caps’ best defensive player and penalty killer when he played in D.C.
Earlier: Adam Oates will be introduced as the Washington Capitals’ head coach this afternoon, less than 24 hours after he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Not a bad couple of days.
Oates will no doubt be asked to describe his coaching style and the system he plans to install in Washington. What we know so far: He has an “elite hockey mind,” according to Jeff Halpern, and Olie Kolzig seems to think his old teammate will be able to strike a balance between Bruce Boudreau’s run-and-gun style and Dale Hunter’s defense-first mentality.
We’ll be live blogging the news conference once it starts at 3 p.m. We’ll also have some new photos of him soon, so you don’t have to keep seeing that same Devils one above. (No offense to Bruce Bennett of Getty Images.)
Stay tuned for more. In the meantime, comments are open as usual. What kind of identity do you want to see from the Capitals under Oates?
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