Report: Capitals Plan To Interview Jeff Halpern

Photo: Town Topics via Jeff Halpern

The Athletic’s Pierre Lebrun is reporting that the Washington Capitals are expected to interview Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach and former Capital Jeff Halpern in their head coach search process.

Halpern is a fan favorite for many Capitals fans. The native of Potomac, Maryland spent parts of seven seasons with the Capitals before departing for the final time following the 2011-12 season.

Halpern most recently served as an assistant coach in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization, beginning as a development coach with the Syracuse Crunch during the 2015-16 season, before moving to Tampa prior to the 2018-19 season and has attained cup-winning experience while serving as an assistant coach with the Lightning.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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32 Responses to Report: Capitals Plan To Interview Jeff Halpern

  1. Brant says:

    Is there a chance Carbery stays as an assistant/PP coach next year? My dream coaching setup is still Halpern and Carbery.

    • Anonymous says:

      Would Carbery side step for another assistant job? What he has now in Toronto?

      • novafyre says:

        I guess for the right price, but why give up an assistant job at a playoff team for another at one that isn’t. I know that in football colleges tried the “head coach in waiting” experiment but with a brand new HC on board, that argument would would be a non-starter.

        • hockeydruid says:

          Have to remember that the Caps lost a great HC because they would not pay him; so I doubt that they would pay Carbery enough to leave his position in Toronto to come to do the same thing in DC. What happens to Allen and Murray? Would like to see Allen retained to work with the PP and PK and younger players. Halpern has been coaching for 8 years and maybe he has absorbed enough not to turn out to like Oates or Hunter.

          • horn73 says:

            lmao, Trotz was about to be fired (not offered a new contract) before the players took over and won a cup despite Trotz. Trotz did so well in New Your that he did get fired….

            Love Halpern, but at such a critical time, definitly a big risk…don’t think so, let’s think back to similar…Reardon and Oates.

          • novafyre says:

            As others have mentioned, Trotz was on thin ice that spring with many writers expecting him to be fired.

            But most important, he didn’t want to honor his contract — he wanted a raise. He had agreed to a contract and now wanted to break it. We should honor him for that? If Ted had refused to pay Trotz what he was owed, what Trotz had agreed to, then I would buy your statement “I doubt that they would pay Carbery enough to leave his position in Toronto to come to do the same thing in DC.” But the Caps lived up to their end of the contract. As for the Caps being stingy, do you think Lavi worked for minimum wage?

            Spencer might want more than the Caps are willing to pay. But he worked for the Stingrays and worked for the Bears. He knows the Caps organization. If he wants to come and the Caps want him, I feel they can make it happen.

            • Anonymous says:

              Trotz was getting 1.5 Laviolette got 5M. Employees should ask an employer for market pay. If not see ya!!!

            • jonicap says:

              He just won the Cup. The ONLY coach who was able to do that in the history of the Capitals. And he was way under paid and under valued. He deserved a raise, and knew he could get one elsewhere. It was STUPID not to give him try to work with him on it. Instead, we kissed goodbye a chance for a second cup. And you think that makes sense?

              • novafyre says:

                I didn’t feel Trotz was that good at the time and still don’t. How many Cups has he won? How many conference titles?

                As was reported at the time: “Barry Trotz had a clause in his contract where if he won the Stanley Cup he could accept a two-year extension with a $300k bump in salary. ” “The Caps view of this is basically that he agreed to this and negotiated this arrangement four years ago, so he’s not honoring his end of the deal.”

                If he wasn’t willing to coach for that, why did he sign the contract?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe they hire him for assistant coach. He’s probably done with Tampa.

    • novafyre says:

      Why do you feel he is done with Tampa?

      • Anonymous says:

        I think because Tampa’s glory days are over, rebuild on the way. Good time for a change of scenery

        • novafyre says:

          Have not read or heard anything about a Tampa rebuild. Quite the contrary. They will do some tweaks (Killer is a UFA for example) but GM, coaches, and players all talked about having the longest summer in 4 years for rehab and recovery. They plan on being back.

          • Anonymous says:

            That’s because they’re not rebuilding. They have 7 forwards signed for next year, with Colton and Jeannot as RFAs who will absolutely be signed; 7 defensemen signed for next year; and Vas signed for 5 more years. Other than Killorn, who has essentially aged out of Tampa, none of their top 9 forwards or top 4 D are leaving.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bring him home!

  4. Mark Eiben says:

    Good first name for the Caps to release. Like most, I would be happy with him or Carbery.

    • novafyre says:

      I like Jeff and I think he has been successful in Tampa. But he has no head coaching experience at any level. The skill set needed for a head coach is different than for an assistant. This could especially be true next year with the Caps in trying to blend older and younger players. He has the on ice skills, but does he have the managerial skills? At the moment, I have nothing to judge him on.

      Bednard had some quotes last year as Aves, like the Caps, found it hard to maintain the same roster and referred to his time as head coach of the Stingrays and gaining experience there with players shuffling in and out every game.

      • hockeydruid says:

        So then they should only look for a retread? Halpern is ready to try his hand at being a HC and what better place to do that then here in DC? HE ran the top 10 PP in Tampa the past several years and surely he could make improvements whit this bunch!! time to get a fresh face and ideas here in DC and not another retread. Lets look to the future and what can be for this team as they are not going to be Cup contenders for several years. Let Jeff coach them and bring in younger players to support the system that he wants to run. IF, and it looks and sounds lie it, that the main goal for this team the next 3 years is to obtain a scoring record then honestly does it matter who coaches them unless you get a HC to go through this record stuff and build a young vibrant contender at the same time.

        • novafyre says:

          Jeff has shown that he can address certain areas as any good assistant can.

          But asking for a coach with HC experience means limiting Caps to retreads?

          Spencer Carbery? At the age of 29, he was the youngest head coach in the ECHL at the time he became HC of the Stingrays. When he was HC of the Bears, he won the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award for coach of the year. Now he’s an NHL assistant.
          He’s a retread?

          Ryan Warsofsky? As HC of the Stingrays he took the Rays to the 2017 Kelly Cup Final. Warsofsky added a second Calder Cup title to his resume last season as HC with the Chicago Wolves (his first was as an assistant). Now he’s an NHL assistant.
          He’s a retread?

          These guys not only have head coaching experience but also a lot of experience with ever changing rosters as they deal not only with injuries but callups and loans.

          Try googling them, read their resumes.

  5. novafyre says:

    It makes sense. Why not interview an assistant with a successful team? Why not interview someone the organization knows? Now, when the Caps were looking for their last coach, their own statements would have precluded this. But their statements so far this hiring cycle indicate a wider net and one geared more towards developing players. So it makes sense to look into NHL assistants and AHL head coaches, not just the old NHL coaches with hundreds of games under their belts.

    But the “at some point” tells me that they have other candidates in mind whose teams are still in NHL or AHL playoffs.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Scott Allen or GTFO, although it’s good to do due diligence. Plus Halpern will do his homework, and the team can learn from his perspective, even if they don’t hire him.

    • Eric Lord says:

      Scott Allen is not a good head coach. He struggled to handle all the responsibilities a head coach deals with when he was the bench boss in Hershey. He did not make the necessary adjustments. Allen is good when he is given a specific area to focus on, like the penalty kill. That is why he makes a good assistant

      • Jeremy says:

        I was about to say this. He had his chance in Hershey and did not do well at all

      • novafyre says:

        Being an assistant and being a head coach do overlap but also do require different skills. That is why I would prefer not to hire Jeff Halpern as HC. He has been a good assistant in Tampa but has not shown he can be a good HC.

  7. Prevent Defense says:

    All sorts of GROOVY new reports and rumors about new NHL Head Coaching jobs

    – Quenneville return to NHL “a strong possibility” [Clutch Points]
    – Coach Q is “linked” to the New York Rangers (didn’t know that GGallant was getting the boot ?) [Pro Hockey Rumors]
    – “It appears” that Dean Evason will return to the bench in MIN [NHL Rumors daht cahm]
    – Dave Quinn is new Head Coach at Boston U. [Bleacherreport]
    – [The Hockey Writers] also “link” Coach Q to the New York Rangers. Further they add that Linus Ullmark was playing BOS goalie with a major injury, and the MIN had multiple big injuries in playoffs

    It is GREAT news to see the “ball rolling” for the Caps HC replacement. Looks to me that GMBM is the guy running the audition show (much better than his superiors in “ownership”)

    Call me cynical but I would exclude Halpern from HC job because he was an Ovechkin teammate in 2005-06. I prefer a TOTALLY clean slate

  8. Jon Sorensen says:

    Greetings folks! Just a quick note, if you haven’t done so already, please consider subscribing to NoVa Caps posts in the “subscribe” box located in the upper right corner. Thank you!

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