With the resignation of both Dean Evason and Jim Johnson when Dale Hunter resigned as the Capitals head coach after the Caps 2012 Stanley Cup Playoff second round exit, the Caps have since been on a search for their replacements.
The Capitals took their time in hiring Adam Oates as their next head coach and that was good news for Calle Johansson.
With the hiring of Adam Oates now in the back of GMGM mind, he turned his attention to the assistant coaches and interviewed a few notable candidates including Scott Stevens. However, Stevens decided to take Adam Oates' old job by accepting the offer the New Jersey Devils gave him for an assistant coaching position. All attention then turned to Calle Johansson who was reported to be around the D.C. area this past week. This morning, he was officially named assistant coach of the Washington Capitals and rightfully so.
Calle Johansson spent time playing along side Adam Oates while playing 15 seasons with the Washington Capitals. Those seasons together included the Capitals 1998 run to the Stanley Cup Finals. He was also a part of the Capitals defensive core that set a record for defensive scoring which still stands to this very day in 1992-1993. Calle recorded only 7 goals that season but his teammates Kevin Hatcher, Al Iafrate and Sylvain Cote all recorded over 20 goals. It was Johansson's 38 assists that were key to the Washington defensive scoring totals.
He entered the NHL by getting drafted 14th overall in 1985 by the Buffalo Sabres. He spent his 1987-1988 rookie season with the Sabres where he recorded 38 assists and 4 goals for 42 points. He was then traded to the Capitals the following season. Calle went on to play 15 total seasons with the Capitals. In 2002 Johansson called it quits in a Capitals uniform but was persuaded by the Toronto Maple Leafs to return to the game of hockey to help them make a run in the playoffs the following season. The Maple Leafs didn't win the Stanley Cup that season and he again retired, this time for good.
Johansson will assuredly be running the defense for Adam Oates and the Washington Capitals. Having the great defensive experience he had in his career I don't doubt for one moment that he will not make a good defensive coach. Another bonus for the Capitals is they get a great mentoring figure for the Swedish players on the roster and in the organization (Backstrom, Johansson, Forsberg and Sjogren, we all know the Caps love Swedish players too!). Yet another positive to this hire is that Johansson and Oates played together for 5 season with the Washington Capitals. By that, I mean, they are very familiar with each other. Finally, when asked about the opportunity, Calle Johansson was quoted as saying, "it just felt right."
The only lingering question that remains is, who is going to be the next assistant coach hired by the Washington Capitals? In my opinion, GMGM needs to go outside the Capitals organization and ex Capitals player list and hire someone with a high hockey IQ (like Oates and Johansson have). If another ex Capital player is hired to assist Adam Oates, it will seem as though the Capitals are turning into a Capitals Reunion Party. I feel as though if that were to happen it would be a major distraction to the Capitals when everyone affiliated with the Caps is expecting a Stanley Cup parade in D.C. very soon.
Until We Meet Again,