LeBrun: Capitals Have Sought Permission From Maple Leafs To Interview Spencer Carbery, Have Already Interviewed Other Candidates

Screen cap: Youtube/@TheHersheyBears

The Athletic’s Pierre Lebrun is reporting that he believes the Washington Capitals have already reached out to the Toronto Maple Leafs for permission to interview former Hershey Bears head coach Spencer Carbery. However, he added that neither team would confirm to him on Tuesday.

“Now that the Maple Leafs are out of the playoffs, there’s no question that teams will be reaching out about Toronto assistant coach Spencer Carbery, and I believe the Capitals, his old organization, have already sought permission to interview him for their vacant head coach position, although neither organization would confirm that Tuesday,” reported Lebrun.

Carbery was primed for a move to Washington (as we wrote about here).He was named ECHL Coach of the Year (2014) and was named the AHL’s Most Outstanding coach for the 2020-21 season in May of 2021.

Carbery signed a three-year extension with the Washington Capitals to remain the Bears’ head coach on April 22, 2021, before the Toronto Maple Leafs swooped in and hired him as an assistant coach two months later.

Named head coach of the Bears on June 26, 2018, Carbery led the club to a three-year record of 104-50-9-8, good for a .658 points percentage, including a 53-18-3-2 mark (111 points, .730) in their last 76 regular-season games.

According to ESPN, Carbery is still thought highly of in the Caps organization. Washington wanted to keep him on before he was signed by the Maple Leafs.

Lebrun also said that the Capitals have already conducted other interviews for their head coaching vacancy, but did not specify who the interviewees were.

“We’ve previously reported the Caps’ interest in Lightning assistant coach Jeff Halpern. I’m told the Caps have also interviewed other coaching candidates, so this isn’t a two-person field,” added LeBrun.

Labrun reported on May 3 that the Capitals were 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.

By Jon Sorensen


Report: Maple Leafs Name Hershey Bears Head Coach Spencer Carbery An Assistant
Capitals And Bears Announce Contract Extension For Spencer Carbery
Spencer Carbery Primed For Future Job In Washington
Who’s Next?: Candidates For The Washington Capitals Next Head Coaching Job

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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23 Responses to LeBrun: Capitals Have Sought Permission From Maple Leafs To Interview Spencer Carbery, Have Already Interviewed Other Candidates

  1. Mark Eiben says:

    As long as the Leafs retain Quief I mean Keefe, the Caps should have a shot to land Carbery if they want him.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don’t let this guy go…AGAIN!

  3. novafyre says:

    Hope this report is true. Carbs is still my favorite candidate.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t have a problem if he were to becomes the new Caps coach but I do wonder how much say he had in how Toronto played against Florida. I watched that entire series and at no point did it feel like the Leafs looked comfortable or made adjustments. Even the first round series felt more like Tampa lost (the Big Cat was way off his game) than Toronto winning.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Certainly a fair point. Also lack of head coaching veterans is somewhat lacking. But all candidates have pluses and minuses.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think this should be looked at as a positive. Should make for a very relevant interview question. “What went wrong?” and “How would you fix it?”.

  5. hockeydruid says:

    Whomever the Caps offer the job to had better ask for at least a 7 or 8 years contract. as Ovie has 3 years left and nothing is going to change much during that time; So the new HC will then have 4 or 5 years to implement his system and changes with new and younger players and hopefully have a decent amount of salary cap space to work with so that he is not always working with old tired players or retreads. This is similar to drafting a Russian player and having to wait several years for him to come over; in that you will have and management and the owner will have to show patience until the current roster of old players is gone and the new players are in place. This is why you don’t want this team making the playoffs the next several years in hopes of getting even higher picks in the drat. Question: how long does a team retool before realizing that they have to rebuild?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      7 or 8 years?!

      I get your point, though.

      • hockeydruid says:

        Would you rather have a retread coach for 3 years and then try to find a young coach with new ideas and come here with bare shelves or have him here now and help mold the team for after Ovie and many of the other players here are gone? Honestly I I can see 14 players who will not be on this roster when Ovie retires; some leaving before and the rest being gone after. I would like to see the HC that they hire be told that he will be here a long time and not to worry about how the team does today but start getting this team ready for when Ovie retires. Yes he should try to win with what he has but don’t go tossing out a HC unless you have hired a retread.

    • andrew777dc says:

      We have to miss the playoffs the next few years?! That’s hard… How do you sell that to the players and coaches? 🙄
      But a long-long contract for the HC definitely makes sense)

      • hockeydruid says:

        Do you honestly think that this team, looking at Carolina, Boston, NJ, Rangers. Islanders, Toronto, Tampa. Buffalo and Florida, is a playoff team? I don’t and would rather have the high picks than making the playoffs only to get bounced in the first round time and time again and keep getting picks in the 20’s.

        • andrew777dc says:

          I understand your position as a fan. Whether or not that can be the objective – avoid making the playoffs, in order to get higher picks… I don’t think any GM in his right mind, or the coaching staff, or players, would ever sign up to this. So this is merely some wishful thinking or hypothesizing by a (devoted, strategically-minded) fan. I don’t know how anyone in the organization can be making that part of the strategy.
          Personally, I think a lot depends on this offseason, whether or not we can become a playoff caliber team. Lots of moving pieces to configure first, in order to answer that question. Do we discard Kuzy, Mantha, Shears, in any combination? Do we place (force) Osh and/or Backy into LTIR or, for the latter, early retirement? I don’t buy the retirement part, that he would agree to that at this stage, btw. What happens at the draft and free agency? Let’s wait and see. Personally (and I think you touched upon this in another post), nothing indicates the mgmt has learned or is ready to adjust its ways, what with the rather chaotic roster moves and lack of player/line/pairing development strategy at time of hire. But maybe I’m wrong and this season has been a wake-up call. Let’s see. My feeling is, had BM not decided to pull the plug and sell off some of our best assets at the trade deadline, we may have sprung back from the loss streak and gotten back into contention (or at least been much closer). And as for me, I would rather make the playoffs, even if we get knocked out early, than not try at all. Reaching every stage is an achievement, and there are lessons to be learned at every stage. That’s how a team grows, that’s how professional athletes develop. There’s no other way. Otherwise do we only start fighting for smth once we’re Cup ready? And let down the entire team and fan base until then? That just doesn’t sound right.
          What I’m hoping for is a gradual phase-out of older star players, and gradual upgrade of the roster. I would even say that Ovi may be able to thrive and achieve more with better partners. Otherwise, if we wait until his contract expires to reinvigorate the team, including via draft picks or total rookies, it will take yet a few more years for them to fully join the lineup, mature and get up to speed. Thus, we may be looking at up to 5-6 years of lost time, before we again become a force to be reckoned with. That is just too long for this team, in my opinion.

          • hockeydruid says:

            I believe that the best thing for Kuzy is to play elsewhere because he has worn out his welcome here and he might perform better if he were elsewhere where he might be happier and more of the “Big Dog” and not playing 2nd or 3rd fiddle to Ovie.
            As for Backy I think that the GM and new HC have a decision to make because you cannot have him hanging around all next season and not pulling his full weight like he did before surgery. Maybe offer him a buyout, not sure of the salary cap ramifications of doing that; ask him to retire, doubt he will do that on his own; release him and let him try to catch on with another team, doubt he gets picked up. Nice guy, good player when he was healthy but now, especially with that salary, not the player he once was and not sure he can really help this team.
            Oshie is pretty much in the same boat with all his injuries and salary. Will he last 82 games next year or will he be hit with the injury bug and miss 30-40 games? Due to his salary, age and injury history I don’t see getting much if anything in trade.
            Sad to say this but the Gm and owner knew that this day was coming back in 2018 and rather than trade several of the players when they had high value they chose instead to sign them to high contracts. Now that these players are in decline and have huge salaries no one wants them so this team is stuck with them. If they had traded a Carlson they would have gotten a high pick or picks. Now they have to think do they want to resign Wilson who is going to want a raise and probably a 5 or 6 year deal. As he will be 30 at the end of next season and he has already stated he will not negotiate during the season the Caps management has this summer to resign him or trade him or worse risk loosing him without getting anything for him.
            Not to harp on it but rather than pay Backy $9.2 mil a year and Carlson $8 mil a year maybe the owner should have spent some money on keeping Trotz and he might have had a second Cup. At least Trotz had a way better shot at leading this team to the Cup than Reardon did. That and trading young players to NJ and Vegas to get salary cap relief just shows how bad of a cap manager this team is.
            I understand that you want to make the playoffs however at the stage that this team is in it needs the higher picks than a 1st round exit just to make fans happy. Honestly then fans will grumble why didn’t they go further in the playoffs. The talent just is not there right now and probably will not be here for 6-8 years. Fans here are spoiled in that this team made the playoffs many years in a row. Many forgot what it was like not making it for several years. Honestly retooling, is what they call what the Caps have been doing and are doing now and honestly it only sets you up for a big hard fall for many a year rather than just rebuilding which if you draft wisely and sign productive UFAs and have a goo coach and GM and game play doesn’t have to take long.

            • andrew777dc says:

              I was just saying that whether or not the Caps are playoff-worthy, depends on upcoming decisions on these players. With our current roster – hardly. If the Caps were healthier more often – maybe, but likely facing a quick exit. I don’t think trying to get into the playoffs equals keeping all the underperforming players, and fighting with the same roster until the last breath. If we are not to rebuild, per the powers that be, we should ditch some people and free up cap space. I would let Kuzy go, Mantha too, probably, despite his defensive contribution, maybe Sheary as well. Either Osh or Backy (or both) should at least go into LTIR, at least for some considerable amount of time before they’re really ready. Maybe Osh would be more ready than Backy after that. In any case, they will be evaluated thoroughly. And then there are all the other decisions – the draft, free agency (doesn’t look too good, but who knows, if we free up some space). And then we’ll see what we got.
              As for the playoffs, my opinion is that fight we still should (minding the above), because this is the way sports works. You try to reach the next level, then the next one, and if you fail to advance at some point, you go back and do what’s needed to become better. Basically, that’s what fans look at, at the end of the day, and I don’t think anyone’s oblivious to where we are now.
              Regarding the mgmt, I have been mostly VERY critical of their decisions ever since winning the Cup. I can get scathingly critical, if I have the time, and I’ve laid out some of it here. Despite some really awesome finds from time to time, the way they manage these finds, the lines/pairings, the lack of overall strategy for the new players, has been nothing short of chaotic. Have they really learned? Dunno, I’m not too optimistic, but maybe they will now be forced to play smarter. Will see.

  6. Prevent Defense says:

    Contrarian is usually reserved for against-the-grain equity advisors. But it’s Contrarian time for NHL eliminated team offseason!

    Contrarian for the Carbery evaluation: It was the CAPITALS FRANCHISE that gave Mr. Carbery his “big break” some years back, by hiring him for the Hershey Bears HC job. Carbery did good, and the Bears prospered. But if he had su**ed and did poorly, he would have barely registered a pip in Caps franchise lore.

    Carbery was only weeks into his new 3-year extension when he jumped ship and signed with Toronto. Yes, it was upward mobility, and about 100% of coaches his age would have done the same thing. But also Yes, he dissed his employer and angel. Much teeth-gnashing resulted in Caps Comment Land: GM Mac “let Carbery get away” and that it was “on GM MacLellan” that a surfire coaching superstar was allowed to bolt.

    I will be more impressed with the Magnificent Mister Carbery if he returns the loyalty and re-signs with the Washington Capitals franchise, if they offer him the HC job. It’s good that GM Mac is interviewing a bunch of worthy candidates.

    • jonicap says:

      “Return the loyalty”. That’s as ridiculous as the other gnashing of teeth comments. He owes the Caps nothing, except his best when he works for them.

  7. Prevent Defense says:

    The NHL Big Thing – The Big Thing in the years just before the 2004 NHL lockout was “Team Speed.” By 2010 it was playing “A heavy style of game.” Still later we had a repeat of the Red Wings’ Big Thing of the 1980s and 1990s: “Puck Possession.” Every five seasons or so one “Big Thing” gives way to another “Big Thing.”

    The LA Kings’ two Championships definitely hinged on “Heavy Style” with big forwards delivering crushing hits all season. Cindy Crosby’s Pens were red-hot for years in the Puck Possession paradise. Not sure just what Big Thing the Caps had in 2017-18. Or what Big Thing the Caps were missing in the two President’s Trophy years.

    FLA has christened yet another NHL Big Thing. Now it’s called, “Capacity to Endure.” Says new head coach Paul Maurice: “We talked about developing the capacity to endure. That was an opening speech line. We had to develop the capacity to endure so that if you get into a playoff game … you have developed that ability to endure the grind.” Who am I to argue? Endure!

    So that’s the memo to GMBM as he tries to hunt down a perfect new Head Coach: Clamp on to that Big Thing and don’t let go

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sign him. Bring in a vet assistant or two

  9. jonicap says:

    Right now, I’m not feeling too confident in the intelligence of decision making in the front office. Here’s three examples:

    1) Failure to keep Trotz (miss out on a second cup) and keep an unproven assistant instead (wa wa waaa)
    2) During this season with too many centers, they keep and played Backstrom and doomed the team to lose as a result and trade good pieces for poorer ones. Losing an important 3rd center (okay Protas might be able to replace him).
    3) ….and losing Orlov and Gustafsson….and replace him with another “Carlson”……an offensive plus and defensive minus (and call it a win). Today you’re saying it’s great to have Sundin. Tomorrow, you will 1) grumble about his poor defense, and 2) want what it took 3 years for Toronto to do. Getting rid of him.

    I am losing confidence in thinking that they know what it takes to win in the playoffs. Good luck with that. I don’t want to be Toronto of the South.

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  11. 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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