Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan stated in his media availability earlier this week that the Capitals were close to naming a replacement for assistant coach Scott Arniel, who departed for Winnipeg earlier this off-season. MacLellan said they had narrowed their list of candidates, and would have an announcement regarding a replacement in the coming days.
So, in the meantime, we thought we’d compile our own dream wish list of candidates to fill the vacancy. Some may be a perfect fit while others would require a re-shuffling of coaching responsibilities in order to best support the team. One or two of the candidates are simply based in wanting to see the person (re)join the team in any capacity.
Brooks Orpik – Orpik was well respected by all players when he was playing for the Capitals, but most notably, the younger players, like Jakub Vrána, worshiped the Stanley Cup champion. His professionalism is contagious, all the way down to his crazy diet. He would be a great role model for the younger players (we will hopefully see, soon). Brooks seems to enjoy his current part time coaching role, coaching the Capitals prospect blueliners, so we’d like to see the Capitals talk him into a full-time gig.
Spencer Carbery – “Carbs” is a hot commodity in the NHL coaching community right now, as it was reported last night that he just interviewed for the San Jose head coaching position. He’s been a success everywhere he’s gone, including the Hershey Bears, and last year with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he turned a 16th ranked power play into the league’s best. We let him get away, once. Let’s correct that blunder and get him back into the system.
Scott Stevens – The former Capitals defenseman was one of the best at his position. The Hall-of-Famer would be a solid assset in coaching the Capitals young blueliners, as well as help enhance the overall defensive system. His mental approach to the game and sound defensive techniques would be a huge upgrade to the Capitals defense.
Braden Holtby – Having Holts back in the fold will be our driving mantra until he indeed re-joins the team – in any capacity. If he were to coach, he could also assist with netminding coaching duties (for now) but the overall goal here would be to see Holtby become a permanent fixture with the team, possibly in the front office. It’s rumored that Holtby may retire from the game. He needs to sign with the Capitals the day after his official retirement announcement.
Adam Oates – This one is probably somewhat controversial, but Oates would be brought in to assist with the power play. Say what you will about his head coaching abilities, but he had the Capitals power play humming on all cylinders. Oates currently runs a hockey consulting business, so at least hire him for a few hours each month to fine-tune the Capitals often floundering power play.
Wendy Marco – The ace skating coach is often brought in by the Capitals to work on their skating and hockey agility skills. Players often seek out Wendy for personal one-on-one training, as Lars Eller did last season. Having Wendy on the bench full time, consistently working with the players, would be a huge benefit.
Mitch Korn – Again, another hire that would require a shuffling of responsibilities, but adding Korn’s netminding coaching prowess to the staff would be a great boost to the netminders on the teem. Now that Barry Trotz is away from hockey for a while, maybe we could talk Korn into returning for a year or two.
Again, the aforementioned list of candidates are a wish list, and not completely based in specific needs, or even reality, in some cases. It’s July.
More importantly, who would you like to see the Capitals add to the coaching staff?
By Jon Sorensen
Great list! How about Ryan Zimmerman? He’s not doing anything. Add another champion to the bench couldn’t hurt.
Great stuff. I like the Orpik idea, but I prefer him working with the up-and-coming d men, especially if he is happy in that role. I feel that is more critical to overall defenseman in the org getting better. Influence them when they are younger.
From your list, my top choice would be Stevens and then Oates and then Korn.
I kinda agree, love that Orpik is working with the kids. Anybody I left off the list?
Don’t want Holts as a coach. My top two would be Carbs and Korn. Would also look at Halpern. But would want him to replace Blaine. Which is really where Oates would be best used. And Carbs could be younger players or PP. Any new assistant not brought in to rework our special teams would not be a waste. That, to me is our first need. Working with younger players is second, goaltending has dropped to third due to new goalies. But any new assistant needs to bring new ideas.
Ah, Halpern, yes. He’s a definite omission.
How we let Jeff sign anywhere else, once you know he wanted to get into coaching is beyond me. But that would have been McDodo’s watch. Must get Halpern back home, before someone finally hires him as HC.
Roger that. And now he even has cups under his belt.
Hindsight is 20/20. When Halpern left town, folks were relieved.
Stevens likely won’t be a consideration because of some past legal issues in the Georgetown area when he was a Player for the Caps.
My guess is that Brooks Orpik isn’t going to give up his current lifestyle (I believe in Jackson Hole) to be on the grind of an NHL Asst Coach! Additionally, I’m not sure why this team continues to roll out Blaine Forsythe every season.
Greetings Ben. Orpik is currently living with family up in Boston, and a part time coach with the Hershey Bears and occasionally with the Caps.
I thought that was just until he finished school
Didn’t hear that. Do you have a source?
I like the idea of trying to entice Halpern home. I wouldn’t bring Oates back to run a hot dog stand. Forsythe needs to be moved as the PP has gotten very stale, and they definitely need a different goalie coach before the two new guys are ruined.
It’s great that the Caps have a top notch skating coach in Wendy Marco. Tampa has often bragged about how much their two part-time skating coaches have helped them (recent article in Tampa Bay Times). I think that a skating coach could be useful during the year when players are injured or recovering from injuries, not just at the start of the season. But I wouldn’t put her behind the bench.
If the Caps sign Grant Cruikshank then perhaps they could also sign his mother Bonnie Blair. I think she’s a motivational speaker now. Again, not behind the bench but available during the year. A player whisperer not just a goalie whisperer.
Orpik: prefer to have him happy and if he wants to continue to mentor and coach the young guys that is fine, might be too soon to coach at the NHL level in Wash as he played with too many of the guys on the roster. Can see him as a HD or bench coach in the NHL, if he wants, in 2-3 years.
Holtby: would ahve to spend time at the minor league level developing his coaching abilities. However you have to wonder if he is mentally finished playing and does he want to coach and travel?
Halpern: qould be a nice add to this bench but does he want to leave Tampa? Maybe if you were to offer him the HC he would come or even bench for a year and then guaranted HC when Lav’s contract is up.
Stevens: would be a great add to this team however does he want to leave the NHL Network for lots of travel?
Carbery: Same as Halpern, offer a bench coach and then when Lav’s contract is up he is HC if not think he is going to be lost to another organization.
Oates: from undrafted to an elite playmaker and would love to see him on the bench but as an assistant first and in charge of the PP and PK.
Korn: would be nice but dont see him coming back here but then stranger things ahve happened.
Mike Yeo: as he has been a good HC in the minors and has done well in Vnacouver and his time doe a chance at HC in the NHL is now!!
Parkkila: how about getting a goalie coach who has worked with our #1 goalie for the next several years!!
To toss a few names in the ring: Manny Malhotra, Frantz Jean, Jason Payne, Tuomo Ruutu, Jason Spezza, Frans Nielsen, Travis Zajac.
I think you’re right about Carbury and Halpern — they are too often talked about as future HCs to transfer to just another assistant job. The job would have to check a certain box or else be a promise of future reward. Tampa lost Lalonde to Detroit so roles may change. I doubt Halpern would leave this year — we’ll see how Cooper assigns tasks to Halpern and new assistant Blashill. My preference would be Carbs based on his Bears HC experience.
I don’t see Holts being a good coach.
And you have to wonder 2 things: 1) does he even want to be a coach and 2) would he make a good goalie coach? I think he would have to spend some time working in the minors or even college or juniors level to prove he can do the job. But after everything still you have to go back to question #1.
Carbery would be a very long shot. He could be the next head coach of San Jose after interviewing there. Even if he doesn’t get the job, it isn’t likely Toronto will allow Carbery to move to the Caps. They can stop it because it would be considered a lateral move. I’ll throw another name out there to help the power play, Phil Housley
I like Phil and as an assistant he could move to HC.
carbs and halpren would only come as head coaches and probably not until a mew gm is hired. stevens is a hard no. oates would great hore for offemse, pp, and faceoffs. mitch and barry are a pair and both hate bmac. hotlby a hard now – for now.
more important than next assistant coach – get a really good hc. this team is too predictable. still playing a system that was good in 2003, not today.
carbs or halpren for hc today!!!
Barry Trotz – GM
Scott Stevens, for the win!