Not only did he receive word that he would be entering the Hockey Hall of Fame, but just a few hours prior he was hired as the new head coach of the Washington Capitals.
“Not a bad day,” he said after receiving his Hall of Fame call. “I haven’t had too many days like this in my career.”
Oates, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach behind the New Jersey Devils‘ bench, will be introduced as the Caps’ new coach at a press conference Wednesday. He takes over a Caps team that once again fell short of their expectations to get to the Stanley Cup Final. And although Dale Hunter did an excellent job just to get the Caps into the playoffs when he took over midseason, Hunter decided to step down as head coach after Washington was eliminated in the second round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Oates will now have the tough task of getting the most out of an offensively talented club that has fallen into the habit of falling short of expectations.
“We are very pleased to name Adam Oates as the new head coach of the Washington Capitals,” Capitals GM George McPhee said. “Adam was a highly intelligent player in the NHL for 19 seasons. He has been an assistant coach in our conference for the past three seasons and is prepared to lead our club as head coach.”
For whatever reason, McPhee has a thing for hiring first-time head coaches. Oates is the fifth straight Caps coach to take the job without having any priory head coaching experience at the NHL level. But unlike Bruce Cassidy, Glen Hanlon, Bruce Boudreau and Hunter, McPhee is hoping that Oates is the guy who can finally take the Caps to the promised land.