Thursday, December 5, 2013
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — For the second time, a Washington Capitals leadership baton has been passed from Dale Hunter to Adam Oates.
More than a decade after Oates followed Hunter as captain, a similar transition happened Tuesday when Oates was hired as the Capitals' coach – on the same day, coincidentally, that Oates was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame along with Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure.
Oates joins Washington six weeks after Hunter's abrupt resignation. Hunter led the team to the second round of the playoffs as a midseason replacement before deciding he would rather be with his family, his farm and the junior club he owns in Canada.
Oates, 49, played 19 seasons as a center in the NHL, including several seasons with the Boston Bruins and parts of six seasons with the Capitals from 1996-2002. His 290 assists rank 10th in team history, and he and Hunter were part of the 1997-98 team that made the only Stanley Cup finals appearance in franchise history.
When Hunter was traded in March 1999, Oates was selected as captain for the following season.
Oates spent the last three seasons as an NHL assistant, first with the Tampa Bay Lightning before moving to the New Jersey Devils in 2010.
His most formidable task will be to develop a playing style that best suits a Capitals roster brimming with talent and that can also succeed in the playoffs.
SHARKS: San Jose re-signed defenseman Justin Braun, and forwards Tommy Wingels and Andrew Desjardins. General Manager Doug Wilson announced the deals to lock up Braun for three years, Wingels for two and Desjardins for one.
KINGS: Los Angeles finalized contracts with forwards Jarret Stoll and Colin Fraser. The Stanley Cup champions signed Stoll to a three-year deal worth $9.75 million; Fraser has a two-year deal worth $1.65 million. Both could have been unrestricted free agents this summer.