The Washington Capitals are in unfamiliar territory, having missed the playoffs for only the second time since 2007, and need to figure out how to retool this roster to make it competitive enough to get back to the postseason and help Alex Ovechkin break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record. One way they’ll for sure make some changes is in the coaching department, as the team and previous head coach Peter Laviolette mutually parted ways.
Frank Seravalli and Colby Cohen had Capitals writer Stephen Whyno on Daily Faceoff Live to talk about the current situation with their coaching search, and who may be the potential candidates.
Stephen Whyno: It’s quiet but also Brian MacLellan’s not in a huge rush here. I know he wanted to go about the first round of the playoffs and see what was going to happen with guys like Gerard Gallant, potentially Jeff Halpern, an assistant on Jon Cooper’s staff in Tampa, Spencer Carbery in Toronto, among the names out there.
This could come out of nowhere, and it really wouldn’t surprise me if someone like Todd Nelson, who’s currently coaching in Hershey right now, has NHL head coaching experience before, also factors into this. He’s coaching in the final four of the Calder Cup Playoffs in the AHL, and basically, Brian MacLellan has a wide swath of coaches to choose from. He could look at someone who’s experienced like a Travis Greene or Gerard Gallant, everything down to a Jeff Halpern and Spencer Carbery.
It’s a fascinating job too, because this is a team that’s still trying to win, Alex Ovechkin’s signed three more years, chasing Wayne Gretzky’s record, a team that missed the playoffs this year, but had gone the previous eight seasons and still has veteran talent around. Brian MacLellan has a lot of guys signed long-term, but still has a very important summer of figuring out what direction this team’s retooling is going to go, and what kind of coach fits it, whether you want someone who’s going to cater to veteran players, or if you want someone who’s maybe better than Laviolette at integrating younger players into your lineup.
You can watch the full episode here…