NEWARK, NJ - MAY 29: Assistant coach Adam Oates of the New Jersey Devils watches from the bench during the media day skate at the AmeriHealth Pavilion the day prior to Game One of the Stanley Cup Final at Prudential Center on May 29, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
It has been quite a day for Adam Oates.
First, he was named the Washington Capitals' new head coach. Then, he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame less than two hours later.
Meh (but really, that's some kind of incredible).
Oates, 49, has spent the last two seasons behind the bench with the Devils, who represented the Eastern Conference in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. Before that, Oates began his NHL coaching career in an asisstant role with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009-10. He now becomes the 16th coach in Capitals history.
“We are very pleased to name Adam Oates as the new head coach of the Washington Capitals," General Manager George McPhee said in a statement. “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.”
A former Cap (1997-2002), Oates was a member of the 1997-98 team that is still the only one to make an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. He was the Caps' captain from 1999-2001.
Oates will replace another former Caps captain and his former teammate, Dale Hunter, who stepped down May 14 after finishing the 2011-12 season that Bruce Boudreau began before being fired in late November.
Oates' hiring continues the Caps' trend of hiring coaches without previous NHL head coaching experience; Washington has not done so since hiring Ron Wilson in 1997. McPhee has never hired a coach with NHL head coaching experience.
According to reports, Oates beat out former Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland and Norfolk Admirals (AHL) head coach Jon Cooper for the position.
Oh, and in case you weren't into hockey back in Oates' playing days, here he is searching for "loose rebounds":