Photo: Greg Fiume
If — for some crazy reason— the Capitals choose not to retain the services of Adam Oates after this season, they’re going to have to find a replacement.
That has got me worried. I don’t want the organization to have to go through a lengthy and expensive search for The Right Guy For The Job. I don’t want them to waste precious days and weeks hunting down an experienced coach who knows the value of puck possession and how to optimize high-end scoring talent.
So, to save time, RMNB has compiled this list of former Capitals players who already have a bunch of red clothes and stuff and they probably already have directions to Kettler programmed into their GPS.
You’re welcome, guys. Don’t overthink it. Just grab one of these dudes and watch the Cups pour in.
Head Coach Matt Bradley
As a player: He bled for this team. Literally. And often. Matt has some kind of skin condition I think. He was actually a decent bottom-six forward on a good contract, adored by fans and teammates alike. I miss him.
As a coach: Bench Boss Matt “Bloody” Bradley will rule his team with an iron fist. Just kidding, he’ll be a total teddy bear. He’d be firm with the stars, congenial with the vets, and he’ll have a soft spot for the grinders. If anyone can get a big game out of the fourth liners, it’s Brads.
Head Coach Chris Simon
As a player: Chris Simon was the scariest MFer ever to wear Caps red and white blue and bronze. Once he activated Wonder Twins powers with Adam Oates in 99-00, Simon led the team in both goals and penalty minutes. Then some stuff happened and he stopped.
As a coach: He won’t be much of a talker, but the players will do exactly what he says. No one wants to piss him off.
Head Coach Jim Carey
As a player: Came out of nowhere to become the best goalie in the land. Returned to nowhere with a pile of money like two years later.
As a coach: The J.D. Salinger of hockey coaches, Carey will lead the team to the conference finals in his first season before becoming a recluse. In his final season, Carey will coach from home, Skyping in for games and doing all his interviews over WhatsApp.
Head Coach Rod Langway
As a player: The Secretary of Defense won two Norris Trophies before you were born and basically made the Washington Capitals a franchise worth watching in the first place. Langway is the best. He’s like your dad’s buddy from high school, and he’s in town for the weekend, and he wants to take you bowling and get you ripped on a few pitchers of Schlitz.
As a coach: He’s been coaching in the minors off-and-on for almost twenty years, but it hasn’t stuck. He’d be the Caps’ first coach who’d try to do the whole job without leaving his seats in the lower bowl.
Head Coach Esa Tikkanen
As a player: He took over 1900 shots in his 13-year career, but the only one anyone ever talks about is the one that went wide.
As a coach: He’ll miss the Glebe Road exit for Kettler and will never be heard from again.
Head Coach Michael Nylander
As a player: A talented vet center for the improving Caps of the late oughts, Nylander had one minor flaw: he was uncoachable. Not even a little. When the scoar-moar-goals Caps needed end-to-end rushes, Nylander preferred to float around in neutral like a slightly malevolent butterfly. Then something happened with his contract that I still don’t understand, and now he’s gone.
As a coach: He’ll make Dale Hunter’s indifferent offense look like Order 666. Also, he’ll demand that his son play on the top line. Also also, he’ll be really hard to fire.
Head Coach Kevin Kaminski
As a player: A fan favorite for fighting dudes bigger than he was, Kaminski took a lot of beatings in his too-short professional career. If you can’t find your pizza slicer, he’s a good guy to have around.
As a coach: Clean, legal hits shall not stand under the Kaminski administration. He’s got one rule: everybody fights, no one quits. Welcome to the Washington Roughnecks.
What former Caps player do you want to see behind the bench? Please don’t name anyone with NHL coaching experience; that’d be stupid.