PITTSBURGH – Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee says that he is finished interviewing candidates for the team’s vacant head coaching position. Now it’s just a matter of making a decision and hiring the 16th head coach in team history.
“We’re going to switch gears after (Saturday) and get back to that,” McPhee told reporters Friday from the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.
“We’ve talked to a lot of people. We’ve exhausted the process and we’re done with all of the interviews and we’re going to have to make a decision in the next little while,” he says.
The Capitals head coaching position has been open since May 14 when Dale Hunter announced he would return to the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights, the team he and his family have owned since 2000.
“The issue is not trying to find a competent guy,” McPhee said of the eventual hire. “I’m confident there are lots of them. It’s which one is best.”
Former Caps center and current New Jersey Devils assistant coach Adam Oates is reportedly in the running for the position, as are Mike Haviland, a former assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks and Jon Cooper, head coach of the American Hockey League’s Norfolk Admirals.
Evason to Milwaukee
McPhee also addressed Dean Evason’s departure after seven years as an assistant coach with the Caps. Evason, 47, interviewed for Washington’s head coaching vacancy but was later told that the team was heading in a different direction. Soon after, Evason interviewed and accepted a head coaching position with the Nashville Predators’ AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals.
“I was really happy for him,” McPhee said. “He’s been terrific to work with, a pro in every regard. He’s going to coach in the National Hockey League one day so I was really happy that he got an American League job to get going.”
Evason had worked behind the Capitals’ bench since the NHL returned from the 2005 work stoppage, having served as an assistant to Glen Hanlon, Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter.