On Thursday, Washington Capitals assistant coach Kevin McCarthy spoke to D.C. media on a conference call for the first time since joining head coach Peter Laviolette’s coaching staff to help the Capitals defense on Wednesday.
A “big factor” in McCarthy’s decision was how the Capitals are a Cup-contending team and “knows what it takes” to win the Stanely Cup. He was also excited to re-join Laviolette. McCarthy has been on Laviolette’s staff since he coached the Carolina Hurricanes from 2004-09. “There’s more to Lavi’s system than just offense…defense wins championships,” McCarthy noted.
“I always try to catch players doing something right,” McCarthy said about bringing positivity behind the bench. “If you can find something right and take that moment to relay it to the player, you get a lot more out of that player because of that.”
McCarthy is a “big believer” in lefty-righty defensive combinations. Playing offside can affect defensemen in both offensive and defensive zones, according to McCarthy. He also emphasized the forwards must help defensemen move the puck out of the zone. “I think it’s important that you have at least eight guys that can play at the NHL level because it’s going to be a sprint as the season gets going.”
With the offseason signings of three right-handed blueliners (Justin Schultz, Trevor Van Riemsdyk, and Paul LaDue), he likes the makeup of Washington’s defense and says the team will be able to “get the most out of” the players. McCarthy also mentioned he is a “big [Dmitry] Orlov fan” and thinks Orlov and Schultz will “fit into Lavi’s system perfectly”.
McCarthy has lots of experience with special teams from the power-play units in Carolina to the penalty kill units in Nashville. He has already talked with fellow assistant coaches Scott Arniel (penalty kill) and Blaine Forsythe (power-play) on helping wherever he can. “I think that it will be nice to be able to have another sounding board or guy they can talk to about certain things.”
By Della Young