- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee decided Jay Leach would not return next season, he and coach Bruce Boudreau needed a new assistant.

They didn’t go far to find their guy, but they did have to wait until he was done winning a championship before offering him the job. Bob Woods, who captured the Calder Cup as bench boss for the AHL’s Hershey Bears earlier this month, was introduced Monday as an assistant coach for the Caps. His main responsibility will be working with the team’s defensemen.

“[Hershey] is a special place and a tough one to leave, but we’re in this business to get to the NHL,” Woods said. “It took me almost 20 years to get there, but I am just excited to finally make it and excited to be back with Bruce.”

Boudreau and Woods have plenty of experience together. Woods was a player-assistant on Boudreau’s Kelly Cup-winning team with Mississippi of the ECHL in 1999, and he was Boudreau’s lieutenant when the Bears won the Calder Cup in 2006.

Woods has been the man in charge in Hershey since Boudreau replaced Glen Hanlon on Thanksgiving in 2007, and the two talked on the phone on almost a daily basis during the season.

As a player, Woods spent 13 years in the minors without making it to the NHL. He has five-plus years of head coaching experience in the minors and was 83-47-15 with the Bears.

“It is gratifying to find someone that you know and you can trust and you can work with who already knows your system, knows all of the ins and outs of how my head works so he plays off me really well,” Boudreau said.

McPhee and Boudreau said the team accepted resumes for the position but never interviewed anyone else. McPhee wanted to wait until after the draft and free agency, but he said Boudreau was confident Woods was their guy. They waited until after the Bears defeated the Manitoba Moose in six games to secure the Calder Cup before approaching him.

“As a head coach, I don’t get the opportunity to put my stamp on somebody too often,” Boudreau said. “This is my time here to put my stamp on somebody, and Bob was the only guy I was looking at.”

Woods has worked with nearly all of the Caps’ defensemen as either an assistant or as the head coach in Hershey. Boudreau cited his work with Mike Green and Jeff Schultz during their time with the Bears and said he believes Woods played a big part in their development.

McPhee has said he likes the relationship Boudreau and Woods had as the organization’s top two head coaches, and now he’ll see how well they work together.

“They won a cup together in the ECHL and in the AHL, and they’ve also done well separately,” McPhee said. “So now they’re reunited, and we’ll see if they can win a third cup together.”

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