Now that Jim Johnson has left the Capitals for an assistant coaching job with the San Jose Sharks, Adam Oates is officially a head coach without two assistants.
Oates said choosing his assistants is a process and that he and general manager George McPhee have a list of potential candidates.
Former Capitals teammates Peter Bondra, Rick Tocchet, Calle Johansson and perhaps Scott Stevens are a few of the names believed to be on that list, although Oates is not divulging his handful of candidates.
Associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig said he is not interested in the commitment of being an assistant.
Honestly, I dont think Im prepared to be one yet, Kolzig said. Its something Im not committed to doing yet. Ive got three kids down in Florida and being an assistant requires a lot of time at the rink and I dont know if Im ready to make that commitment yet. Im not ruling it out at some point maybe down the road, but I have to learn more.
As a goalie coach, Kolzig is responsible for the development of the organizations six goalies spread across the NHL, AHL and ECHL.
I like what I do, he said. That one-on-one interaction is great because you can really get your point across as opposed to a whole team.
Ideally, the Caps would like to have an assistant coach with some head coaching experience, either at the AHL or NHL level. Larry Robinson filled that role by joining the Sharks and Tom Renney did the same when he was hired in Vancouver.
Oates has never been a head coach at any level, serving as an assistant in Tampa for one season and in New Jersey for two more.
Oatesy admitted himself there are some things he needs to learn as a head coach, like running a bench, Kolzig said. These prospect scrimmages give him an opportunity to do that.
The Caps would also like to hire an assistant who can coach the defense and Stevens would be an ideal choice if they can lure him from his home in North Jersey.
Kolzig said that as a head coach Oates may have to crack the whip more than he did as an assistant but said he has the right personality to do that and still have the respect of players like Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green .
Hes still an interactive guy, he said. Hes always involved in conversation, whether its with the coaches or the players he sees. I think hes excited about trying to get the best out of Ovi, and Nicky and Greenie and our skill guys.