As Braden Holtby and Dmitry Orlov joined their fellow Bears for the start of Hershey's training camp this weekend, they also joined a few familiar faces from Washington.
The Capitals announced today that head coach Adam Oates will co-coach the AHL affiliate this season with Bears head coach Mark French. Calle Johansson and Olie Kolzig will join the staff as well while NHL play remains suspended.
The call was made by Caps general manager George McPhee, who decided his staff would be best served offering their services in Hershey rather than riding out the lockout in Washington.
The Hershey reunion will also allow the coaches in the Capitals organization to synchronize their system. As Capitals senior writer Mike Vogel points out, the Caps utilized the same system at every level during Bruce Boudreau's four years in Washington but when Dale Hunter replaced Boudreau in November of 2011, bringing his own system with him, a disconnect resulted between the franchises.
We think its a great opportunity for all of our coaches in the organization to work together to learn the nuances of our system of play, McPhee told Vogel. We also think its a great opportunity for our NHL coaches to get to work with our young players and frankly to give them something to do. Theres no sense in them sitting in Washington when they could be active in Hershey.
As French and Oates work together through the lockout, Capitals assistant coaches Johansson, Tim Hunter and Blaine Forsythe will lend take their talents to both Hershey and the Caps' new ECHL affiliate in Reading.
We obviously think the learning environment will be that much improved, McPhee explained to Vogel. You dont have many opportunities to do this in our business. Were looking for the silver lining and trying to make the best of the situation.