Adam Oates

Oates enjoyed time in Washington, wants to keep coaching


Adam Oates’ career as a head coach hasn’t gotten off to an ideal start, but he hopes being fired after two seasons with the Washington Capitals won’t also serve as the end of his time as a bench boss.

When asked on the Fan 590 if he wants to return as a head coach next season, Oates didn’t hesitate.

“Yes I would,” Oates said. “I really really enjoyed it since I got into coaching in Tampa … working with the Caps was fantastic.”

He helped Alex Ovechkin revitalize his game, resulting in the superstar forward winning the Rocket Richard Trophy in back-to-back campaigns. Ovechkin’s resurgence also played a big role in the Capitals making the playoffs in Oates’ first campaign as a head coach.

His sophomore season in 2013-14 didn’t go nearly as well as the Capitals missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

“You can have an off year, if anything we had a bit of an off-year this year,” Oates said. “We had a couple guys hurt, things didn’t quite go the way planned.”

He pointed to Randy Carlyle in Toronto as an example of a good coach having a rough campaign and praised Toronto’s decision to extend him in spite of the Maple Leafs’ late season collapse. He also brought up Mike Babcock, who didn’t do particularly well in his sophomore season with Anaheim back in 2003-04.

Oates certainly wouldn’t mind following in Babcock’s footsteps as the former Ducks coach has gone on to do great things in Detroit and is a 2013-14 Jack Adams finalists.

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.