During his introductory press conference Wednesday, new Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates was asked about his feelings regarding how the once-lowly franchise had developed into the popular and successful team that it is today.
Oates, who played for the Caps from 1997-2002, recalled a specific instance in 1999, when he was introduced as the team's new captain.
"I can remember when I got named captain one year," Oates said. "We did the announcement in front of the White House. It was over by the White House and I think there was no one there. People walking by, throwing me a nickel."
"We were trying to pull people in," General Manager George McPhee added with a laugh.
Joking aside, Oates was incredibly impressed with how the Caps have evolved.
"Since Ted [Leonsis] has taken over the team, the franchise has changed dramatically in terms of the marketing, the professionalism -- nothing against what we had back then," he said. "You look at the practice facility now from when I played. It is a top-echelon run organization. It is a top-caliber NHL team and that is what they expect here."
After Oates finished, Leonsis added his own quip.
"There are 70 people in the room," team owner Ted Leonsis said, referring to the number of people attending the press conference. "You used to have events where you'd introduce the coach and there'd be two."
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