Capitals coaching carousel: Dale Hunter back in London, Dean Evason in AHL and Mike Haviland to Washington?
While the Washington Capitals are still seeking a new head coach, some old faces made news on Tuesday ? one getting a new gig, and one snuggling up to the warm blanket of his old one.
? Dale Hunter will return to the bench of the OHL London Knights, after his brief but unconventionally successful run as Capitals coach this season. His brother Mark shifts back to the general manager role he filled during Dale Hunter’s 11 years as Knights coach.
? Dean Evason, who was an assistant coach for the Capitals for seven seasons, is the new head coach for the AHL Milwaukee Admirals, the Nashville Predators’ affiliate.
Hey, remember when Evason was a Capitals player back in the day? His GM was a guy named David Poile.
Capitals GM George McPhee said last week that Evason and fellow assistant Jim Johnson were probably not going to be back with the team next season, all but ending speculation that Evason might end up winning the team’s head coaching gig.
Instead, the long-time assistant ? well respected in the organization ? gets a head coaching gig of his own in the AHL, a job that most recently launched Kirk Muller to the Carolina Hurricanes’ opening.
? Finally, on the Capitals’ gig, Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington reports that former Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland might be the frontrunner for the team’s vacancy. From Gormley:
Haviland, 44, is believed to have interviewed for the job with Capitals general manager George McPhee but has not been offered the job. McPhee is expected to continue to meet with candidates through the NHL draft, which will take place Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh.
Jon Cooper, who is coming off a Calder Cup victory with the Norfolk Admirals, is expected to meet with McPhee this weekend to discuss the Capitals’ head coaching vacancy.
Haviland has spent the past three seasons as Joel Quenneville’s assistant coach in Chicago, but was fired by the organization on May 8 following the Blackhawks’ disappointing first-round elimination by the Phoenix Coyotes.
As McPhee said last week: NHL coaching experience isn’t a necessity for his next coach. But one imagines Haviland’s experience with the Blackhawks and Joel Quenneville might give him an advantage here.