February 28, 2021

Washington Nationals reassign several coaches

Part of the fallout from the Washington Nationals dismissal of manager Matt Williams was the release of his entire coaching staff. On Monday, the Nats announced that several of those coaches, and a minor league manager, were reassigned in the organization.

Former bench coach Randy Knorr, who’s been with the organization in just about every role possible and who was thought to be a managerial candidate (again), was named Senior Assistant to the General manager, Player Development. Third base coach Bobby Henley was appointed Senior Advisor, Player Development. Bullpen coach (and former Nats player) Matt LeCroy will manager AA-Harrisburg, and former Harrisburg skipper Brian Daubach will become hitting coach at AAA-Syracuse.

There was no information on whether the rest of the coaches, including long-time pitching coach Steve McCatty, have been offered other positions in the organization.

It’s presumed that when GM Mike Rizzo appoints a new manager –especially if he comes with experience — he’ll be able to interview and hire his own staff.

The list of candidates is growing by the day. There have been area and national reports tying the Nats to former managers Bud Black, Charlie Manual and Dusty Baker, longtime coaches Phil Nevin, Dave Martinez and Don Wakamatsu and even retired legend Cal Ripken, Jr.

Washington Capitals Postseason Roundtable Part IV: The Coaches

As we’ve done in year’s past, District Sports Page staff and a couple friends in the industry conducted a roundtable to rate the recently completed Washington Capitals season. Obviously, with the changing of the guard over the weekend, the season was in no was satisfying of satisfactory, and our grades this season really reflect where our contributors to the roundtable sit with regards to the changes necessary to make the Caps true contenders again.

We’ll rate the offense, defense, goaltending, coaching and administration throughout the week.

Our panelists: Dave Nichols, Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page; Katie Brown, beat writer for DSP; J.J. Regan, contributor to DSP; Sky Kerstein, 106.7 The Fan; Harry Hawkings, RockTheRed.com.

Part III: Rate the coaches (with grade an explanation):

DAVE: F. This team got progressively worse in the two years Adam Oates was in charge. It’s not even a question. The puck possession was abysmal, the systems were almost indecipherable, the rigidity was patently absurd, and the personnel mismanagement was shockingly amateurish. I’m also choosing to believe the power play’s return to the top of the chart was regression to mean with the talent available.

Ever since Bruce Boudreau was dismissed, the Caps puck possession has taken a nosedive, bottoming out at the end of this past season. You simply cannot regularly win games giving up more shots at even strength than you take. The bigger the differential, the worse of a team you are. It’s just math. And the Caps were one of the five worst teams in terms of puck possession in the league.

For long stretches of this season, it seemed the Caps preferred method of getting the puck out of their own end was to fumble it around, then bat it to center ice and hope to be able to dump it to get a line change. Preferring players skating on their strong hand is okay in theory, but when you rigiditily insist upon it and it forces you to play John Erskine in a second-pairing role (among many misaligned), you need to re-think what you’re doing.

Oates tried to make natural wingers into centers and centers into wingers. For two seasons, he ignored George McPhee’s biggest trade deadline acquisition, banishing first Martin Erat and then Dustin Penner to the Siberia of the NHL — a fourth line assignment with Jay Beagle. Then, for periods in both seasons — including down the stretch this season when fighting for their playoff lives — he moved Beagle up to center the greatest goal scorer in this generation. Surprisingly, Alex Ovechkin did not have a single point — let alone goal — while being centered by the offensively challenged Beagle.

Maybe the biggest dereliction of duty came by wasting a season of Tom Wilson’s entry-level contract so Wilson could earn more penalty minutes fighting than he was allowed to skate at even strength.

The bridge-burning Oates did in the media with Ovechkin, Holtby, Halak and Green was simply unbecoming of an NHL head coach.

Oates has a reputation as having an incredibly gifted hockey intelligence. He was one of the greatest playmakers this game has ever known. He was also known as a stubborn, selfish and petulant player, wearing out his welcome when coaches got fed up with his schtick. Hopefully the damage he did here isn’t permanent and can be overcome by the next administration.

KATIE: D-. At first, the changes Adam Oates was making seemed to make sense, even if they were a bit puzzling. It devolved into Oates needing to tinker with literally everything – including goaltending – to the team’s detriment. Do I think the Capitals would have been better off if he’d let his assistants do their jobs instead of trying to fix things that weren’t broken? Yes. Let the goalie coaches do their jobs. Let the defensive staff do theirs. That’s why you hire assistant coaches in the first place, right?  I don’t have much to comment on as far as the assistant coaches because I don’t think they hold much responsibility for many of the things that Oates wished to do during his tenure as head coach.

What Oates was able to do with the Capitals’ power play and with Alex Ovechkin was terrific, but he struggled in just about every other area. There is something to be said about sticking with things, even if they don’t work instantaneously, but even the worst coach in the NHL could realize that pairing Alex Ovechkin, an elite player, with Jay Beagle, a minimally skilled fourth line player, wasn’t a good idea. It took Oates six games to separate them. Now, maybe he was trying to get Ovechkin to be more defensively responsible, but that is not the correct way to do it.

Oates was stubborn and inflexible, and instead of modifying his system to accommodate and accentuate the skills of players in order to have the greatest possible chance of success, he tried to squeeze them into ill-fitting holes, which often backfired. Not to mention breaching the confidentiality of private conversations with players, in Halak’s case. No matter what transpired, the bottom line is that he shouldn’t have aired that dirty laundry to the public. There was dissonance between George McPhee and Oates, and it was never clearer than in the mishandling of Martin Erat and Dustin Penner. McPhee deserves the credit for acquiring quality players in an effort to help the team win, futile as it may have been, but Oates let personal bias, or perhaps just ignorance, dictate his utilization of these players.

J.J.: D-. The only things keeping this grade from an F are the power play and the third line. The Caps were tied with Pittsburgh for the best power play percentage in the league and the third line looked fantastic. Otherwise, Adam Oates laid an egg this season.

In his second season as head coach, the Caps lacked an identity and were awful at even strength. Oates was also responsible for bizarre personnel decisions, the Jay Beagle debacle, pushing a goaltending philosophy counter to the strengths of the team’s top netminder, and switching multiple players away from their natural positions. He also stubbornly refused to adapt when the team struggled under his theories.

Given that Oates had a full offseason and training camp to work with, I expected the team to get better in his second season, not worse. I’m not surprised he was let go.

SKY: D.  Defensively they were awful.  Adam Oates was stubborn in making adjustments.  Alex Ovechkin went a career high 15 games without an even strength POINT in the most important part of the season because Oates was so worried about his +/- that he put Jay Beagle with him.  Oates never even put Dustin Penner with Nicklas Backstrom and Ovechkin and that’s the only reason he was brought in here for!

Also Oates was neurotic with his right shot being on the right side and left shot being on the left side…many other teams are in the playoffs right now that don’t have that problem.  Also Calle Johansson might not have had the greatest players, but you can’t just blame the players for being a disaster on the defensive side.  The Caps never won a game in regulation/overtime under Oates at the helm in two seasons in the regular season when scoring two or fewer goals.

HARRY: I give the coaching an F. Coming in to this season I had tentative optimism that Adam Oates would learn from his mistakes and start to maximize the talents of his players instead of putting them in situations in which they were destined to fail and then criticizing and benching them for said failure. I was wrong.

Oates’ decision to consistently bury Martin Erat despite his status as one of the team’s top possession players made one of the worst trades of George McPhee’s tenure worse, culminating in a salary dump at the trade deadline.. His insistence on playing Aaron Volpatti, who was quite literally one of the five worst players in the NHL this year in terms of possession, for almost half the season, was inexcusable.

His role in keeping Tom Wilson up with the big club, therefore burning a year of his valuable entry-level contract, was also made worse by the fact that he buried Wilson with bad players and ice time almost every night. This forced Wilson to fight to try and make a name for himself.

His meticulous and obsessive desire to control everything on offense, defense, and in goal – detailed by Katie Carrera in a lengthy post around the end of the season – alienated players. Lastly, as the season came to a close, Oates’ line juggling became a punch line. such as Mikhail Grabovski on the wing, Jay Beagle with Alex Ovechkin, and Dustin Penner on the fourth line made no sense and didn’t put anyone in a position to succeed.

One of Oates’ deputies, Calle Johansson, was also likely directly responsible for this calamitous season as his defensive system and rules are not suited to this roster. The only coach who seemed to have a good year was Blaine Forsythe, as his primary responsibility – the power play – remained great. I’m legitimately starting to wonder if it’s him, not Oates, who deserves credit for turning Ovechkin around.

Washington Redskins hire Jay Gruden as head coach

“I don’t know what happened last year. I don’t care about what happened last year.” — Redskins new head coach Jay Gruden

The Washington Redskins announced hiring Jay Gruden as head coach at a press conference Thursday at Redskins Park.

Excluding interim coaches, Gruden, 46, becomes the team’s youngest head coaching hire since hiring eventual Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs at 40 years of age in 1981. He becomes the first Redskins coach hired directly from an offensive coordinator role on another team since Norv Turner in 1994.

Gruden spent the last three seasons as offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. In his tenure in Cincinnati from 2011-13, the Bengals averaged 10 wins a season, making three consecutive playoff appearances and earning an AFC North championship in 2013. Members of the Bengals’ offense accounted for seven Pro Bowl selections in his three seasons in Cincinnati.

Calling it a “once-in-a-lifetime deal,” Gruden expressed the desire to instill confidence and pride among the players as a primary goal once he gets started with the team. He indicated that no decisions have been made yet regarding his coaching staff, including dismissing a report that TE coach Sean McVey had been promoted to offensive coordinator.

Gruden said he hated coaching against a 3-4 defense and would lean toward keeping the 3-4 with the Redskins, noting that the personnel was tailored to that alignment at this time, but he did note problems “on the back end,” referring to the Redskins troubles in the defensive secondary this past season.

Asked about repairing the organization’s relationship with quarterback Robert Griffin III, Gruden said, “I don’t know what happened last year. I don’t care about what happened last year.” Gruden noted many positive attributes about Griffin’s game, but also said he would demand much from his quarterback, including taking responsibility for mistakes and being a good leader.

General Manager Bruce Allen confirmed that Gruden signed a five-year contract.

Redskins fire Shanahan — Bruce Allen press conference transcript

“Has he taken a step back? He’s still one of the great fans.” Redskins GM Bruce Allen, on owner Daniel Snyder.

Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen met with reporters Monday afternoon after dismissing Mike Shanahan as head coach and releasing most of the coaching staff. Below is a transcript of his entire comments (courtesy Redskins Media Relations).

List of coaches not retained: Keith Burns (special teams), Larry Coyer (advance scout), Richmond Flowers (offensive quality control), Matt LaFleur (quarterbacks), Mike McDaniel (wide recievers), Kyle Shanahan (offensive coordinator), Bob Slowik (linebackers), Bobby Slowik (defensive assistant), Bobby Turner (associate head coach/running backs coach ), Aubrey Pleasant (offensive assistant), Richard Hightower (special teams assistant).

Executive Vice President/General Manager Bruce Allen

Opening statements:

“Good afternoon. Obviously this is a painful day for me and the organization. It is fitting though, after a painful season, that these type of press conferences and events happen.

“Four years ago we thought we did the right thing. We went out and met with Mike [Shanahan]. We wanted a proven coach who had a good record and we felt could lead our football team, and in discussions with Mike, he was always honest with us. He said he wanted to make sure he had the same type of control and staffing that he had in Denver and we agreed to that. Unfortunately today our results aren’t what we had hoped on that day, and that’s why we’re here.

“Today [Owner] Dan [Snyder], Mike and I met at 9:00 and we relieved Mike of his duties. It was a cordial, professional meeting. We talked about the future of the team and the direction that we both want it to go. After that I’ve been meeting with all the assistant coaches individually and telling them of their status. Later today [Senior Vice President] Tony [Wyllie] will give you a list of coaches who have also been relieved of their duties. The other coaches will depend on the next head coach – if they fit into the schemes and the system that the new head coach wants to implement. Later today I’m going to meet with a couple more of our staff members and we’re going to start to formalize the coaching search.

“I know there’s been speculation throughout the last weeks and maybe even months about what is going to happen and the reason we waited until now versus all of the previous comments of if we were going to make a change during the season was because we wanted Mike to have the ability to right the ship. We wanted to end that losing streak. For every play on this team and for everybody in the organization, for every fan out there, we wanted to get a win. We came close in the last few weeks, but as is the frustration over the last four years, we played some good quarters, some good halves, but we didn’t play complete games.

“As I said a moment ago, our head coaching search will start tonight. Because of league rules, we’re not going to try and publicize who we’re going to try and talk to. I know there’s going to be rumors out there as we meet people, and we’re going to try and keep you updated on a regular basis. We’re going to try and do this as quickly as possible, but more importantly we want to do it correctly. We want to pick the right coach, the right leader for this franchise that can inspire this football team, that can lead this team and teach them the fundamentals that are so critical in the game, who understands the value of time, because in the NFL right now time is really, really critical to manage. You don’t have much time in the offseason with the players. You don’t have much time during training camp with players. So to understand the value of that time is going to be important, and to have someone with some urgency to accomplish the goals that we’re looking for for this franchise.

“To sit here and talk about Mike Shanahan leaving us is difficult because we’re all 3-13. We accept that. We understand it. The Washington Redskins will win and lose as a football team. Period. That’s who we are, and we understand some of the mistakes that were made and we are going to take the next several months and figure out all the mistakes that were made in order to learn from them. [Cornerback] Josh Wilson gave me a great Christmas present, pretty telling, it was a book and it said ‘Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.’ We learned too much this year, maybe, but we’ve got to learn to go in the right direction and that’s what we’re going to do.”

On who will have control over player personnel moving forward:

“The control will be mine, and it will be working with our personnel department. The personnel department of [Director of Player Personnel] Scott Campbell and [Director of Pro Personnel] Morocco Brown actually do a very good job at what they do. We are going to redefine some of the characteristics that we’re looking for in players. Obviously when we have a new head coach there will be some schematic adjustments that we will make, but that power will be with me.”

On the reports and rumors around the franchise late in the season:

“Part of that was – let me use the right word – distasteful to hear. Within in the Redskins — and I do like that the players say it’s on us, it is on us, it’s on all of us from people in the front office to people on the football field to people in the locker room, it is on us — and to see those anonymous sources and the back-biting and different comments, I think it’s very important to know that a lot of it was untrue, but at the same time it was distasteful. Any coach, any organization knows in pro sports you need to eliminate distractions. Instead we created our own distractions and it distracted from our play on the field and we will do our best to alleviate any of those issues in the future.”

On if they will redefine front office roles:

“No, we’re going to keep everybody in their role and we’re going to make sure they can focus on their job that they have to do. They’ll be involved in the interview process. They will be involved as they have been in talking to some of the coaches today. We feel comfortable with them. It doesn’t mean we might not add somebody to the personnel department, but we feel we have a good personnel department that has been interviewed for other positions and we’re comfortable with it now.”

On if the next head coach has to be someone that has won as a head coach before:

“It really is an open list. It will have NFL coaches, it will have college coaches on it. Some have head coaching experience, some don’t, and I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the people who I haven’t met yet. I’ve seen them from afar and I want to hear what their dreams are, what they can do, the fire in their belly to coach the Washington Redskins, to inspire the kids on this football team.”

On reports of fractured relationships within the organization:

“That’s part of the rumors that are out there. Mike has always been professional and we always had an easy dialogue when discussing issues. I don’t think there was a fractured relationship. I think that the intensity of trying to do the right thing all the time maybe was too much for everyone at times, but I think the relationship was good, as it was in our meeting this morning. Mike and Dan have a very good relationship as people, and I think that’s going to continue in the future.”

On if he is concerned about instability after another coaching change:

“In the NFL right now, stability is a strange word. I think we need to put that up at a league meeting, ‘What is stability?’ There’s eight head coaching changes last year, eight the year before, no reason to believe there might not be eight again. Last year half the offensive coordinators in the NFL changed teams, so I think we’ve had a pretty good run with four years. Unfortunately, three of the years were losing records and those are the results. The great thing about sports is we play with a scoreboard. We don’t have to wait for a quarterly report to tell us how we did in sales or any of that. We know immediately, and the distasteful and the painful part was we were 3-13. We lost 13 times.”

On if continuity not breeding success is a problem that goes deeper than the head coaching position:

“No, not at all. You can look at teams that turn around in one year — I think the greatest example is Philadelphia and Kansas City — [Kansas City] Coach [Andy] Reid did a great job with the Chiefs. He just left Philly and they didn’t perform well but the new coach came in and led them to the division title. If we find the right person, we will have the stability that we all want in the NFL.”

On if the team is better off now than it was before hiring Shanahan:

“In ways, yes. The frustration of the season is there is a nucleus for success. We saw it. We saw it just a year ago. And the nucleus is here, and we have some of the right foundational principles to win. We just have to learn to take advantage of all 60 minutes in a game and close the deal. We had way too many giveaways this year. I don’t think there’s anything that speaks to our season as much as our first-quarter record. We had the worst in the league net point differential, minus-79 points, in the first quarter, so obviously that made the games even more painful when you’re trying to come from behind at times. I feel we have an opportunity because of the nucleus of the team, the spirit of the team. I think through all of the different issues that came up this year – some true, some untrue – the team did stick together. The core of this team believes in each other.”

On when the decision to relieve Shanahan was made:

“I would say probably after the Dallas game it was near 99 percent, but the most important thing after the Dallas game was to try and beat the Giants, and we felt that Mike and his staff gave us the best chance to beat the Giants the next week. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and that’s why we’re here today.”

On why fans should believe the next head coach will succeed after previous coaches have not:

“I can’t speak for the prior years. I can speak for Mike’s years, and Dan was very supportive of all of Mike’s wishes and ideas, as he has with the different thoughts that I’ve had from time to time. This is the Washington Redskins. This is a very high-profile team. When the Dallas Cowboys or the Washington Redskins are in first place it’s a lot of news, and when they’re in last place it’s a lot of news. I think coming into this environment, knowing that there is a nucleus, I think it will be a very attractive position to coaches.”

On if he learned anything specific from mistakes made in his time here:

“We met this morning in the personnel department to make sure that we documented every pick that we’ve made and we’ve documented every free agent that we’ve discussed or gave a bad grade to that is performing well right now in the NFL. So we’re studying the personnel at this point.”

On how responsible he feels for this season and the record over the last four years:

“I feel very responsible. I think I said that at the beginning that everyone here feels responsible, and in my position it’s what creates the pain because I can see where we want to go, I can feel where we want to go, and I know that the players have that same drive. So I feel responsible for it. We’re all accountable for our record. That’s the great thing, once again, about sports. I’m 3-13 as is Tony Wyllie over here.”

On what the head coaching job has to offer to candidates:

“As I just said a little bit earlier, the attractiveness of coming to one of the flagship franchises in the NFL is exciting to coaches. The coaching profession is one that I have tremendous respect for and I think it has some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows of any profession out there, and sometimes you find coaches who can’t wait to have a tough situation of taking over a last-place team. I think if you would ask coaches a lot of times would you want to take over a first-place team or a last-place team, in football, they’d say last place. Unfortunately we’re there, but I do think it’s going to be a great opportunity for a coach.”

On his role in the organization moving forward:

“My job is to put the Washington Redskins organization on the right track and to continue to build the foundation for this team to win and it is my job to find the next head coach for the Washington Redskins.”

On if his role will include control over personnel decisions:

“That’s all part of it.”

On if he will be looking for specific offensive or defensive schemes in the new coach:

“I think I’m going to look for the person who can describe what they want to do the best. It could be a 4-3, it could be a 3-4. It’s the person who has the understanding and the knowledge of what he wants to teach the players. As I said at the beginning, we’re going to look for someone who is a leader first and it could be on the offensive side of the ball, defense or special team. There have been a couple special teams coaches who have made great head coaches. We’re going to keep an open mind and look forward to them telling us how they’re going to make the Washington Redskins successful – have that fire in the belly that I discussed about being excited and what they can do to make the Redskins win.”

On how much Snyder’s involvement has changed in recent years:

“Once again, it’s tough for me to discuss what he did before I came here, because I wasn’t here. He’s been very supportive of everything we’ve wanted to do. Has he taken a step back? He’s still one of the great fans. I think – and I’ve seen some of the reports, if you knew how much Dan Snyder wants to win – I mean, he wants to win more than life itself – and he has given us the support and the resources to do what we think is necessary to help us win. It showed a year ago and this year it didn’t, but it’s our job to do the execution. It’s not Dan calling the plays. It’s not Dan picking the players. It’s the people he’s hired, it’s our job to actually turn this team into a winner.”

On his reasoning for not restructuring the front office:

“I see some people who have to be given an opportunity to succeed. I think Scott Campbell running a college draft will be as capable as any personnel director in the NFL. I know what Morocco Brown can do in free agency. I’ve seen the grades of the players he’s given in free agency. To blame them, I think, would be unfair to not giving them an opportunity to succeed. Our front office will win and lose as the team does. We believe that we have the right people in place. You saw it last year. This year, you saw – not the complete opposite, because we lost eight versus winning seven in a row. We’re very confident where we’re going to go with them.”

On if something is inherently wrong after finishing in last place in five out of the last six seasons:

“Not in the NFL. Not in sports. I can’t change history. You’d like to, but you can’t change history. It’s all about today and where we’re going in the future. I think when we provide the right type of leadership, the right type of foundation for a new coach and a new team, that’s what’s going to matter. I can’t change what happened yesterday. We are going to have the chance to change the future and that’s what our task is and we look forward to it.”

Closing statement:

“It is a difficult day. In talking to the coaches, it’s very painful, and I respect all the work that they put into it, but the results weren’t there. It’s now our job today with the nucleus that we have to change our fortunes in the future and we think we can do that. I want to thank you, and as I said, we’re going to try and keep you updated during this process so the fans know what we’re doing with the coaching search. Thank you.”

NATS: Happy Birthday, Steve McCatty


Washington Nationals Pitching Coach was born on 03/20/1954 in Detroit, Michigan.

Pitching Coach Steve McCatty watching from dugout during - Los Angeles Dodgers v. Washington Nationals, Game Two of Doubleheader on September 19, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Pitching Coach Steve McCatty watching from dugout during – Los Angeles Dodgers v. Washington Nationals, Game Two of Doubleheader on September 19, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)



NATS: Happy Birthday, Rick Eckstein (Big 4-0!)


THE BIG 4-0!

Washington Nationals’ Hitting Coach was born on 03/04/1973 in Sanford, Florida. Eckstein is starting his fifth season as batting coach. Eckstein was praised last season after helping Kurt Suzuki improve his hitting skills and increasing his batting average after joining the Nats.

Happy Birthday #4.

Washington Nationals Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein during photo day on field before game v. Colorado Rockies, July 7, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Nationals Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein during photo day on field before game v. Colorado Rockies, July 7, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Bryce Harper soaking up every last bit of information from hitting coach Rick Eckstein - Los Angeles Dodgers v. Washington Nationals, Game One of Doubleheader on September 19, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Bryce Harper soaking up every last bit of information from hitting coach Rick Eckstein – Los Angeles Dodgers v. Washington Nationals, Game One of Doubleheader on September 19, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Nats Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein holding relief pitcher Sean Burnett back and Ryan Zimmerman with Bryce Harper during brawl #2 - Chicago Cubs v Washington Nationals, 9/6/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Nats Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein holding relief pitcher Sean Burnett back and Ryan Zimmerman with Bryce Harper during brawl #2 – Chicago Cubs v Washington Nationals, 9/6/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)



NATS: Happy Birthday, Trent Jewett


Washington Nationals’ Third Base Coach was born on 03/03/1964 in Dallas, Texas. Jewett was the first base coach for 2012 Nats and returns for his second season as the third base coach, replacing Bo Porter , the new Manager for Houston Astros.

Happy Birthday #44.

Washington Nationals Third Base Coach Trent Jewett during photo day on field before game v. Colorado Rockies, July 7, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Nationals Third Base Coach Trent Jewett during photo day on field before game v. Colorado Rockies, July 7, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Gio Gonzalez gives first base coach Trent Jewett a fist bump and couldn't stop smiling after he hit his first MLB hit, 4/12/2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Gio Gonzalez gives first base coach Trent Jewett a fist bump and couldn’t stop smiling after he hit his first MLB hit, 4/12/2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Nationals 2012 Base Coaches Jewett and Porter during National Anthem before Bryce Harper's DC debut, 5/01/2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Nationals 2012 Base Coaches Jewett and Porter during National Anthem before Bryce Harper’s DC debut, 5/01/2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)




CAPS: Washington Capitals Alum and Assistant Coach Host Hockey School at Crestwood Elementary

Crestwood Elementary School Students Scrimmage with the Capitals

ARLINGTON, Va. – During a recent afternoon in Crestwood Elementary School’s gymnasium, students were joined in a hockey scrimmage by special guests from the Washington Capitals.

The matchup, featuring assistant coach Blaine Forsythe and alumnus Nelson Burton, followed an hour-long Hockey School assembly attended by 230 fourth- through sixth-grade students.

Hockey School is a free program, designed to be both instructional and interactive, with the goal of exposing students to floor hockey while teaching proper technique.

Prior to joining the Springfield, Va., students in a scrimmage, Forsythe and Burton demonstrated skills and helped students practice techniques including stickhandling, passing and shooting.

Forsythe is in his seventh year with Washington and his fourth as an assistant coach. Burton, a former Capitals left wing, played with the team from 1977-1979.

“The enthusiasm was top notch and the skills were pretty good.” Forsythe said. “Some of the kids really could handle the ball right away without a lot of teaching.”

At the conclusion of the assembly the Capitals donated a set of hockey equipment and a Capitals Hockey School banner to Crestwood Elementary, while each student received a hockey 101 booklet and a squishy puck.

Physical education teacher Jenna Makharita said she and her students look forward to using the new equipment.

“Being able to keep the equipment is so exciting,” she said. “I have kids asking if we are going to play hockey today so I’m going to have to get that on the schedule pretty soon.”

The assembly marked the ninth program of the 2012-13 academic year. The Capitals host two Hockey School visits each month between September and May and donate street hockey equipment to each participating school.

“It is a lot of fun for us to be here and to see the kids,” Forsyth said following the assembly. “Hockey School is really important – you can just see it by the looks on their faces.”

Washington Capitals assistant coach Blaine Forsythe, alumnus Nelson Burton and mascot Slapshot pose with Crestwood Elementary School students and staff following a Capitals Hockey School assembly. (Photo courtesy of Washington Capitals).

Washington Capitals assistant coach Blaine Forsythe, alumnus Nelson Burton and mascot Slapshot pose with Crestwood Elementary School students and staff following a Capitals Hockey School assembly. (Photo courtesy of Washington Capitals).

FORMER NATS: Pat Corrales Hired by Dodgers

Former Washington Nationals special advisor and former bench coach Pat Corrales was hired by the Los Angeles Dodgers to serve as a special assistant to General Manager Ned Colletti.

Corrales, 71, will be reunited with Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten making it the third team for the pair. Correles and Kasten worked together with the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals.

Nationals Bench Coach Pat Corrales at Baseball 101 in 2008 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates to “co-coach” at AHL Hershey

New Head Coach Adam Oates watching Washington Capitals Development Camp Day 2 Scrimmage at Kettler, 7/10/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

According to multiple reports Sunday morning, the Washington Capitals will assign their NHL coaching staff to positions with AHL Hershey and ECHL Reading during the NHL lockout, including head coach Adam Oates, who will serve as co-head coach of the Bears along with returning head coach Mark French. [Read more…]

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