Adam Oates isn’t worried about Calle Johansson being an NHL assistant coach for the first time next season with the Washington Capitals.
“I think for him it’ll be a fast transition given the kind of person he is,” Oates said in a phone interview Wednesday. “He’s a very smart guy. He’s a good communicator; we used to talk about the game a lot. When we had our interviews he talked about being able to communicate and still teach even at this level, which is something that I really believe in. I think his resume will impress the players and allow the guys to listen to him and get an audience and be open-minded.”
This is a first-time journey for Oates as a head coach, anywhere, too, and the 49-year-old admitted that finding more experience in the other assistant coach is something he and George McPhee are considering.
“Yeah, we are. We’re trying to factor in all the criteria, and that would be one of them, as best we can,” Oates said.
Some veteran coaches who could be worth a look include the Florida Panthers’ Craig Ramsay, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Dave Lewis and a couple of guys currently out of coaching, Rick Tocchet and ex-Chicago Blackhawks assistant Mike Haviland.
In Johansson, Oates thinks he got a good fit because of his own personality.
“I’m more the talker, he’s more a little bit quiet than I am. I think we’ll fit together well,” Oates said. “He’s a quieter person. I’m a little bit more aggressive; he’s more quiet. That’s why I think our styles will complement each other.”
Of course being a veteran of over 1,000 NHL games won’t hurt, either.
But seeing the game the same way should help Oates and Johansson stay on the same page.
“I think at times. You still have to be able to communicate it and you still have to coach the game, of course,” Oates said. “But we spend so much time with video these days, so much time talking to players, way more than we played. Because of technology, the players have much more available to them, so there’s no secrets. You can’t hide. You have to be able to explain it and talk about it.”