Is Adam Oates the answer?
To say yes means that Oates, with zero head coaching experience, must take an underachieving Washington Capitals team and find success by, hopefully, using a part-Bruce Boudreau and part-Dale Hunter style that blends offensive firepower with defensive responsibility. To say yes means he must push them past the second round of the playoffs and hope the players care enough to leave everything on the ice to win the ultimate prize in sports. To say yes means the players will respect him enough to do their jobs as he asks. It's a pretty tall order for someone with three years of assistant coaching experience.
Please know that I think Oates was a great hockey player, an awesome center and I own his jersey. In fact, congrats Adam on your well deserved hockey hall of fame selection. But is he going to be able to deal with this group? I hear he's a player's coach, which doesn't bode well for the Caps. They had that in Boudreau and it was, ultimately, what ended his tenure in Washington.
I wish GMGM had selected someone with NHL head coaching experience and Stanley Cup finals experience. The Caps have experimented with inexperienced head coaches for the past decade. It hasn't worked out too well.
I don't know how this story turns out. Adam Oates might surprise me. The underachieving players might surprise me. I'd be happy to eat my words. But, I've been saying that for a decade, too.
Let's go Caps!