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Sizing up the candidates: Adam Oates

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Sizing up the candidates: Adam Oates

By the end of this week, and possibly in the next day or two, general manager George McPhee will complete his six-week search and introduce the next coach of the Washington Capitals.

By all accounts, he has narrowed his field down to three candidates New Jersey Devils assistant coach Adam Oates, former Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland and Norfolk Admirals head coach Jon Cooper.

Over the next few days, well profile each candidate, starting with

Adam Oates:Age: 49
Hometown: Weston, Ontario
Personal: Adam and his wife, Donna, reside in California during the off-season.

Coaching Resume: 2010-present: New Jersey Devils assistant coach; 2009-10 Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach.

Strengths: Oates is considered a strong communicator and is very well-liked and respected by the Devils players. He has served as an NHL assistant to four head coaches Rick Tocchet in Tampa Bay and John McLean, Jacques Lemaire and Peter DeBoer in New Jersey. Credited for improving the Devils power play from 29th in the NHL 14.0 percent last season to 14th this season 17.2 percent. Also improved the Lightnings power play from 17.8 percent 19th in NHL to 19.1 9th in his only season behind the bench. Worked tirelessly with Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk to help develop his overall game.

Weakneses: Oates has never been a head coach at any level and is the only one of the three candidates without head coaching experience.

NHL Playing Career: Retired as an active player on April 3, 2004 after compiling 341 goals and 1,079 assists for 1,420 points and 415 penalty minutes in 1,337 career games with Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton. Played in five NHL All-Star Games during his 19-season career and was named to the leagues Second All-Star Team in 1991. Reached the 100-point mark on four occasions including a career-high 142 in 1992-93. Ranks sixth all-time in assists, leading the NHL in 1992-93 (97), 2000-01 (69, tie) and 2001-02 (64). In 163 career playoff games, including two Stanley Cup Final appearances in 1998 with the Capitals and 2003 with the Ducks, recording 42 goals and 114 assists for 156 points and 66 penalty minutes. Played parts of six seasons with the Capitals from 1997-02, compiling 73 goals and 290 assists for 363 points in 387 games.
Other NHL Distinctions: Oldest player to lead the NHL in assists in a single season with 64 in 200102, at the age of 39. No player has accumulate more playoff points 156 without winning the Stanley Cup. Ranks sixth all-time in assists with 1,079.

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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play with 18.7 seconds remaining and the Panthers escaped with a 3-2 victory on an emotional night in Sunrise, Fla.

Trocheck’s goal was Florida’s second in the final four minutes…and the Caps were left to lament yet another incomplete performance. Washington has now lost three of its last four games and fell to 4-5-2 in February.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Vincent Trocheck, Panthers

Trocheck did what Trocheck does in the third period: The Florida forward scored a clutch goal in the final seconds, redirecting a Jonathan Huberdeau shot through Brooks Orpik’s legs and past Braden Holtby. Eller was in the penalty box when Trocheck scored his 13th third period goal of the season.

2-Andre Burakovsky, Capitals

After losing a goal to Eller in the first period, Burakovsky made sure he didn’t go home empty handed. No. 65 scored on the power play in the second period to put the Caps ahead 2-1. It was Burakovsky’s third goal in six games. He also earned a secondary assist on Eller’s redirection score.   

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Following a handful of un-Holtby-like performances lately, Holtbeast roared Thursday night at BB&T Center. He made at least one game-saving stop in each period: an arm save on Trocheck in the first period; a pad stop on Denis Malgin in the second and another extended pad stop on Evgenii Dadonov in the third. Holtby finished with 30 stops.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

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USA TODAY Sports

4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

The Caps looked like they had the win as they led 2-1 late in the third period, but things went off the rails in the final four minutes of the game in a 3-2 loss for Washington.

Here's how the Caps lost.

An emotional start for Robert Luongo

Before the game, Roberto Luongo took the mic during an emotional tribute to the victims of the tragic Stoneman Douglas school shooting. As a writer, it was hard to get into the game after that. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for Luongo to focus after that. But he did. He started off the game very well, making several strong saves. Washington scored late in the first period after an offensive cycle of over a minute that completely wore out the Panthers' skaters. Otherwise, Luongo was brilliant turning aside 13 of the 14 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes.

Another shaky start for Braden Holtby

This was the best game we have seen from Braden Holtby in a while as he made a number of phenomenal saves in the second and third period. In the first, however, he continued to struggle. Maxim Mamin scored his first career NHL goal and point as a puck trickled through Holtby and Mamin was able to slam it home. Holtby was dealing with a screen, but reacted late to the initial shot and late to Mamin.

Aleksander Barkov splitting Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson

With a 2-1 lead, the Caps looked like they had control. But with less than four minutes remaining, Aleksander Barkov was able to split Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson to set up Nick Bjugstad for the game-tying goal. Ovechkin was backchecking and Carlson stepped up on him and then...nothing. It looked as if both players thought the other would take Barkov and Ovechkin let up at the same time Carlson skated past giving Barkov a lane to the net.

A late penalty to Lars Eller

With the game tied late, the Caps were exerting their will in the offensive zone with the cycle that had been dominant all game long...and then Lars Eller tried to set a pick on Bjugstad, knocking him to the ice. It was an obvious interference call with just 42 seconds remaining in the game. Florida would score 22 seconds later to deny Washington not only the win, but even a point.