- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
- HUMPRHIES: The Liberal Bully of the Week is …
- Secret Service threatened to kill Mr. Met if he got close to Clinton, mascot claims
- Sarah Palin to campaign for Senate candidate Ben Sasse in Nebraska
Capitals hire Calle Johansson as assistant coach
Adam Oates’ first hire is veteran of more than 1,000 NHL games
The Washington Capitals are getting the band back together.
Oates and Johansson are short on experience behind the bench, but the hope is that they can recapture some chemistry from their playing days and that a 1998 trip to the Stanley Cup Final was not a one-hit wonder.
“The players that come in [as coaches] automatically know the culture, know all the nuances of the franchise, of the organization, of who’s been involved over the years,” Comcast SportsNet analyst and ex-Caps forward Craig Laughlin said. “I think that they bring instant cred; they’ve battled. … They know and understand what the players are going to be going through.”
Having played a franchise-record 983 games with the Caps, few know the deal around here more than Johansson, 45, who also has the most points and assists by a defenseman in team history. He has only has one year of coaching experience, with Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League in 2006-07, but as with Oates the Caps hope his playing career can translate just as well.
Johansson has spent most of his time post-retirement in broadcasting, but he learned an important lesson in limited duty behind the bench.
“I learned that the thing you have to do is be yourself to earn the players’ trust. Don’t think you’re something that you’re not. Don’t think that you can put on a role or a facade or something like that,” Johansson said on a conference call with reporters. “You have to be yourself to earn their trust, and I think that’s the most important thing as a coach. To be able to get through to the guys they got to know that what you’re telling them is the absolute truth.”
The absolute truth is that no one knows how Oates and Johansson will be as coaches, but if chemistry on the ice is worth anything, there shouldn’t be too many issues with miscommunication. Johansson had a desire to get back into coaching, but he did so now because he and Oates “think hockey the same way.”
“It just felt right,” Johansson said. “To me, it was just the perfect situation.”
Oates wanted someone he could trust, too, and it didn’t hurt that he and Johansson played parts of six seasons together in Washington. Familiarity is there even if Johansson’s personality might be a yin to Oates‘ yang.
“I think our styles will complement each other very well. I’m more the talker, he’s more a little bit quiet than I am. I think we’ll fit together well,” the Caps’ coach said. “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.”
Going by Johansson’s playing career, it’s tough not to believe in his abilities.
Laughlin described him as an “unassuming, unbelievable talent,” but now Johansson will be tasked with getting even more out of a young defensive corps that features Karl Alzner, John Carlson and Mike Green.
“You look at the defense in Washington today, and it has great potential. To me, when I see them, they play pretty much the same way I did or wanted and tried to,” he said. “They’re great skaters, they’re great two-way defensemen, all of them, and I think there is great potential that they can become easily the best ‘D’ corps in the league.”
That will take some teaching and communication, two things Oates and Johansson are high on. And having the “instant cred” of being in the record books should help bridge the gap, too, and get the players’ attention even quicker.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- John Edwards back in court this time as a lawyer for Va. boy's malpractice case
- Pentagon extends deployment of fighter jets to Poland
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.