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.
Oates, along with assistants Calle Johansson and Olie Kolzig, were on the ice Sunday morning at the start of training camp in Hershey, aside the Bears coaching staff.
“Mark French and Adam Oates will be co-coaches and they will work together and both will be very involved with the day-to-day [operations] of the team,” Caps GM George McPhee was quoted by WashingtonCaps.com’s Mike Vogel.
It’s an interesting arrangement and will probably benefit the organization as a whole in the long run. It will allow Oates the opportunity to imprint all levels of the Caps development tree with his system and philosophy. But it’s difficult to look at this arrangement and see nothing but bad news for the NHL lockout. McPhee stated this arrangement had been in the planning stages “for quite a while” and that it “frankly [gives] them something to do.”
It’s another indication that management has anticipated all along that the lockout will be lengthy and will severely damage the integrity of the season. You can never say never as far as the negotiating goes, but this is just one more piece of information for those that want to try to read the tea leaves.
Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Nats and the Caps, and previously wrote Nats News Network and Caps News Network. Dave’s first sports hero was Bobby Dandridge. Follow Dave’s Capitals coverage on Twitter @CapitalsDSP.