On a day when hes already being considered for the Hockey Hall of Fame, former Bruins playmaking center Adam Oates was also named the 16th head coach in Washington Capitals history.
Oates was serving as an assistant coach on Pete DeBoers New Jersey Devils staff after having served as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was one of three finalists for the Washington job, a trio that included former Chicago Blackhawks assistant Mike Haviland.
Oates replaces outgoing coach Dale Hunter, who managed to cajole the temperamental Capitals into sacrificing their bodies and ice time for some playoff success and then opted to head back to the OHL Windsor Spitfires after giving the NHL a shot.
Oates ranks 16th among NHL all-time leading scorers with 1,420 career points and was one of the leagues best playmakers with stints most notably in Detroit, St. Louis, Boston and Washington. Oates had his best NHL season with the Bruins when he put up 142 points including 45 goals and 97 assists in 1992-93, and teamed up with Bruins President Cam Neely for his famous 50-goal campaign in 1993-94.
The head coaching job in Washington shows the work that he has put in since becoming an assistant coach starting in Tampa and in NJ, said Neely, in an email to CSNNE.com. Adam always had a great mind for the game.
Oates arrived in Boston via trade with the St. Louis Blues in 1992 in exchange for Craig Janney and Stephane Quintal, and was dealt to Washington five years later with Bill Ranford and Rick Tocchet in exchange for Jim Carey, Anson Carter, Jason Allison and a third round pick that turned into Lee Goren.
Oates will also learn whether he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame when the new class which should include Brendan Shanahan and Joe Sakic among others will be announced at 3 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.