Peter Bondra played parts of six seasons with Adam Oates in Washington and believes the 49-year-old future Hall of Famer is the perfect fit at the clubs next head coach.
Im excited for Adam, Bondra said shortly after learning the Capitals had named Oates as their 16th head coach. He was a great teammate and Im happy to see the Capitals bring back their own people.
Bondra and Oates played together as Capitals from 1996 until 2002 and became one of the most explosive one-two combinations in the NHL. Bondra said that despite Oates reputation as one of the leagues best set-up men, he has a keen sense of how to play defensive hockey in todays NHL.
I talked to Dainius Zubrus about him and he said he did a tremendous job with the Devils, Bondra said. A lot of guys think Adam Oates is only about offense, but he played both ends of the ice and I believe he will coach that way.
Bondra said the Capitals learned to play a strong offensive game under Bruce Boudreau and a strong defensive game under Dale Hunter.
I actually thought they became too defensive under Dale, Bondra said. But Adam will be right down the middle. Id like to see that development and I think Adam can do it.
Bondra said he also thinks Oates success as a player will bring him instant respect in the Capitals locker room.
Plus, he knows everyone in the organization from playing here, Bondra said. He knows Mr. Ted Leonsis and Mr. Dick Patrick. And he obviously knows George McPhee.
Bondra said he would like to be an assistant coach in the NHL but issued a no comment when asked if Oates would name him as one of his assistants.