The Washington Capitals are once again going with a familiar face behind the bench, hiring Adam Oates as their new head coach.
Oates, who was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame later Tuesday afternoon, will replace fellow former Capital Dale Hunter, who chose not to return to the team after losing in the second round of the playoffs.
And, like his predecessor, Oates takes the job without having been a head coach at the professional level. In fact, Oates becomes the fifth straight coach hired by general manager George McPhee to have no previous experience guiding an NHL team, joining Bruce Cassidy, Glen Hanlon and Bruce Boudreau in addition to Hunter.
"We are very pleased to name Adam Oates as the new head coach of the Washington Capitals," said McPhee. "Adam was a highly intelligent player in the NHL for 19 seasons. He has been an assistant coach in our conference for the past three seasons and is prepared to lead our club as head coach."
Oates was an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils the last two seasons, and he also served as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2009-10 campaign.
The 49-year-old Oates was one of the game's best playmakers. He ranks sixth all-time in NHL history with 1,079 assists and 16th with 1,420 points.
Oates was traded to Washington by the Boston Bruins on March 1, 1997 and played for the Capitals until being dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers late in the 2001-02 season. He was the team's captain from 1999-01.