New Jersey Devils assistant coach Adam Oates appears to be the choice as next coach of the Washington Capitals.
TSN's Darren Dreger reported the Caps finally have made their decision on the man to replace Dale Hunter, who chose not to return to the team after Washington was eliminated in the second round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Oates never has been a head coach at the professional level. Last season was his second season with the Devils, and he also worked as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2009-10 season.
If Oates is hired, he will be the fifth straight coach hired by GM George McPhee that had no previous experience as an NHL head coach, a list that also includes Bruce Cassidy, Glen Hanlon, Bruce Boudreauand Hunter.
Oates' main job with New Jersey was running the team's power play, and that unit made great strides in 2011-12. In 2010-11, the Devils' power play was 28th in the League at 14.4 percent; last season it improved to 14th, succeeding at a 17.2-percent clip.
Offense never was an issue for Oates during his 19-season NHL career with seven teams -- including parts of six seasons with the Capitals. His 1,079 assists are sixth all-time in League history, and his 1,420 points are 16th.
The Capitals finished seventh in the Eastern Conference last season with 92 points, but upset the Boston Bruins in the first round and took the New York Rangers to a seventh game before losing in the second round.
They had their most success under the defensive-minded Hunter, but with top-flight offensive talents likeAlex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green, it will be interesting to see if he pushes the tempo similar to when Boudreau was in charge.
McPhee reportedly narrowed his final list to former Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland and Jon Cooper, coach of the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.
McPhee wouldn't comment on his final list of candidates when asked about the coaching situation at the 2012 NHL Draft last week, but said he was very happy with the process.
"I can pick any of them and I think we'll be in good shape," he said. "They're really good candidates. The hard part is picking the best one or the best fit because they're all terrific. I've really enjoyed meeting these people and spending time with them. They're really good."
Ehh after re-reading that I noticed it might be a little bit premature. Still not 100% awake