The New Jersey Devils get to see fomer assistant coach Adam Oates run his own team Friday when the Washington Capitals come to Prudential Center.
Oates was evidently a very popular member of the team based on comments from head coach Pete DeBoer and some of the players.
The Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti asked DeBoer if he has the “brain power” to match wits with Oates. Laughing, DeBoer replied, “I don’t know about the brain power. I’m sure his SAT was at least a few hundred points higher than mine.”
DeBoer did say that Oates moving into a head coaching role was appropriate.
“It will be nice seeing behind the bench of his own team and well deserved,” DeBoer said. “He gave this organization his full dedication and a lot of hours and a lot of work and was a big part of our success last year.”
Among the players, Ilya Kovalchuk and Martin Brodeur were effusive ion their praise of Oates to Gulitti.
“He was a great player," Kovalchuk said. "He knows the game real well. He was great here. I love him as a coach, so I’m pretty sure the guys are excited there. He’s the kind of guy if you’re going to work hard and listen he will always give you opportunities.”
“I think everybody who has been around him, we know about that,” Brodeur said. “I think he’s paid his dues as far as being in Tampa for a while and being with us for a while. An organization he had a lot of success with (as a player) needed somebody and he felt comfortable. I’m happy for him because I think that was his goal, to work himself into a head job, so it’s kind of nice that he got this opportunity.”
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