Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Calle Love

A few hours ago, Calle Johansson was named Assistant Coach of the Capitals, bringing back a third member of the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals winning Washington squad.  Johansson was one of the best defensemen in our team's history, still holding the records for points and assists among blueliners, in addition to having played the most games of any Capital.

His work ethic, dedication, and leadership will help this young defense corps in DC (5 of the 9 defensemen the Capitals have are 26 or younger).  While Johansson was never the best defenseman in the league, or even on the team, he was a steady, reliable presence and a solid contributor who should be able to provide useful insight into making the unit work together more cohesively. 

Which leaves us with one remaining slot for an assistant coach.  Since it appears the Caps are interested in alumni and former teammates, I would love to see us draw in Chief from the Flyers, or maybe convince Rod Brind'Amour to start coaching.

I have been saying for years we need to get tougher, especially with the gloves down.  Chief was one of the toughest in the business for years, and has been an assistant coach for a few years now in Philly.  He has had the chance to pick up some much needed playoff experience, and since our coaching staff is essentially full of rookies, he would be a big help.

Brind'Amour captained the Carolina Hurricanes to the franchise's only Stanley Cup victory, and played alongside Oates for two years in St. Louis as teen.  Rod exemplified hard work and preparation as his career progressed, and his workout plans were the stuff of legend.  Adding a mind like this to the coaching staff could do wonders not only for the young kids looking to make the squad, but also for the seasoned vets like Ovechkin and Green who have struggled down the stretch.

Hey, it could happen, right?

Grade: B.  This is a safe move at worst, but certainly not a home run swing.  It is still too early to predict his impact, but if history serves as lesson, the best impact is not noticing anything.  Smooth, efficient. 

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