He has enjoyed a great deal of success as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils, in charge of the power play, and, as anyone could have suspected, he parlayed their Stanley Cup berth into a promotion.
Fan fact for nerds: Adam Oates played 1337 NHL games, making him truly one of the elite. As it were.
Fun fact for hockey fans: In those 1337 games (341-1079-1420), he played 387 for the Capitals, going 73-290-363. What bearing does this have on his ability to coach? None whatsoever.
I’m glad he has NHL coaching experience — one of the problems I suspected with Hunter was that, as an OHL coach, he was used to having a lot more control and influence on the players. Oates is used to dealing with players who are already fully or mostly formed, rather than trying to mold them to prepare them for a higher level. He also won’t have to (or at least feel like he has to) play whatever the male equivalent of “den mother” is.
Oates created a successful and (more importantly?) fun to watch, up-tempo power play in New Jersey, which is what GMGM said he was looking for — now can this translate to an entire philosophy? Again? It’s the polar opposite of Hunter’s ethos, which should make our top line (and number one pairing, for that matter) happy. And Oates was apparently looking for the job: NJ GM Lou Lamoriello gave him permission to speak to one team re: a coaching position. Now all that’s left is to see if he can get the team to buy into it, as GMGM put it.
And on a side note,Oates was also inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.. So, not a bad day.*
*It’s your responsibility to make the “Hall and Oates” pun. I’m not going to do it.