Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

As first reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger and now confirmed by the team, the Washington Capitals have named former team captain Adam Oates their new head coach.

“We are very pleased to name Adam Oates as the new head coach of the Washington Capitals,” General Manager George McPhee said. “Adam was a highly intelligent player in the NHL for 19 seasons. He has been an assistant coach in our conference for the past three seasons and is prepared to lead our club as head coach.”

Oates, who played parts of six seasons in Washington, spent the past two seasons in New Jersey as an assistant coach under both Jacques Lemaire and Peter DeBoer, visiting the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time as a coach this past June. As a player, he visited the Stanley Cup Finals twice, once with Washington and once with the Anaheim Ducks.

Oates is widely credited with helping Ilya Kovalchuk’s game reach another level and has been instrumental in New Jersey’s special teams’ success. While an assistant in Tampa during the 2009-10 season, the Lightning had a power play efficiency of 19.3%, which ranked 8th in the NHL.

The only catch? This will be the fifth straight coaching hire by McPhee who has not had any head coaching experience in the NHL.

Thoughts on Oates? Will he make it a mandate for every player to have a tiny blade on their stick? How will he jive with Alex Ovechkin (and maybe Alex Semin too)? Discuss below!

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