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Assistant Coach Leach Won't Return; Hauswirth Signs

Assistant Coach Jay Leach will not return to the Caps after five seasons with the team, GM George McPhee confirmed this afternoon. Leach coached the defensemen.

"It was a mutual decision," McPhee said. "He's a good man and a good coach and he helped us get to where we are."

Coach Bruce Boudreau's other two assistants, Dean Evason and Dave Prior, will return next season. Boudreau inherited Leach, Evason and Prior when he took over in Nov. 2007.

A replacement for Leach has not been named.

The Caps have also signed undrafted free agent center Jake Hauswirth to a three-year entry level deal. Hauswirth, if you recall, was a standout during last summer's development camp.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 26, 2009; 2:47 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Fedorov's Agent: We're Still Talking to Caps
Next: Kozlov's Status Uncertain, Alzner Update


all right GMGM, here is where you hire a strong defense-minded coach to balance out Bouds offense-focused system. while I love Feds and Kozzie, their potential signing with russian teams frees up some much needed cap space. this day has the potential to be a pretty good one for the future of the Caps.

Posted by: doughless | May 26, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I saw this coming a mile away ... not only was it needed, but it was evident in the breakdown interviews with GMGM and BB.

Posted by: Boo- | May 26, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I think we suspected that Leach might not be back. Glad to hear they aren't re-vamping the entire coaching staff.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 26, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Suggestion for a new assistant coach:

Olie Kolzig.

He knows what it's like to play behind bad defenses, and can teach them how to read and anticipate offenses. He will command respect among the players and can help in the locker room until a real leader develops.

Posted by: Exile_in_Philly | May 26, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

so, what do the Caps have to do to get the KHL to take Nylander off their hands?

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 26, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Hauswirth could be really good, I know he's 21 already but his work ethic and size just from last year's camp was awesome. He goes to the puck when its around the net. It'll be nice to see how much he's improved in the last year.

And like others will say the Leach move was obvious.

Posted by: ThePat | May 26, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Olie is a great goalie coach (rememebr all the eventual drama caused by him coaching Carey price?!). Not so sure about a D coach.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 26, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing this will give us an opportunity to figure out a way to fix our defense without having to lose all of our current d-men, though it's likely we will lose a few, huh? Who's likely to leave/get traded?

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 26, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Morrison is likely gone via free agency. Sloan is, I hate to say it because I lvoe the guy, decent trade bait. Juice could be tradable. There's like a bazillion D men in Hershey you could package up in exchange for soemthing.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 26, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Let's walk away from the Olie as D-coach ledge. I prefer to see him as a ex-player. I'd prefer not to see Olie as any kind of coach with the Caps.

Posted by: Greg S. | May 26, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

My guess is Mo will be gone. I do not think he performed up to the raise that he got last year. Personally I do not think he deserves much, if any, of a raise. Given he is an RFA I expect him to go.

Will be interesting to see if we resign Juice and at what amount. Will also be curious to see how much of a raise Schultz gets. (Because I find it very unlikely that he will not be signed).

Also curious where things stand with Gordo and Fehr.

Posted by: Kim-3 | May 26, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I remember Hauswirth from camp last summer. We were impressed by him.

Hey, how about bring Feds back as an assistant coach?? Although I have a feeling that wouldn't pay as much as he wants either.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 26, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Juice has to stay with the way he played down the stretch and in the playoffs. Schultz and Morrison I let walk unless Schultz will take $1 million max.

Maybe trade Morrison's rights away before or at the draft as part of a package.

Posted by: ThePat | May 26, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Gordo is useful to keep around soley because of his face-off and PK abilities. but obviously, that means he's not particularly well-compensated (he's making well under $1 million/year)

Schultz probably stays because he's one of Bruce's guys. And he's cheap.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 26, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

There's lots of time to figure out the situation at forward. You have Hershey call-ups, free agency, trades prior to next year and, finally, deadline deals next March. I think Aucoin is a definite Cap next year with his one-way, and Bourque, too, since he is a RFA who will surely get a one-way offer. I bet last year around this time that Brooks Laich would out-point Kozlov this season, and people thought I was an idiot. OK, I am an idiot, but I got that one right. As for next year, Aucoin will outpoint Fedorov (if Feds plays in NHL). Aucoin is probably adequate as a 2nd line center up to the deadline. Bourque is adequate as a grinder at least, and maybe he'll give you more.

Clark and Nylander are real wild cards. I think very slim chance Nylander is productive, but Clark I think is 50/50. If he does well enough, Laich can be given a decent shot as 1st line RW.

I think Caps are all but shoo-ins for playoffs, so no reason not to give guys like Laich and Aucoin extended look-sees up until March 1st.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 26, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

One of us predicted the day after the Pens lost that top o' the list for the Caps was a "defensive coordinator." Maybe it was just that obvious.

Somewhere between the Hanlon style and the Boudreau style, leaning mostly toward the Boudreau style, is the winning style.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 26, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse


Agree Aucoin will be up on the team next year, but disagree with the 2nd line Center thought. He is an adequate energy guy in the NHL, not a 2nd line center.

The 2nd line center will be Brooksie or will be coming through FA(eventhough GMGM said that won't happen) or a trade.

Posted by: ThePat | May 26, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I can't see moving Laich back to center and expecting hime to perform up to that level. You're asking him to be Semin's set-up playmaker guy. I like Brooksie, but I just can't seem him in that role.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 26, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Morrison is likely gone, but we'll trade his rights at the draft. He's an RFA so any team we trade him to will have the right to match any offer sheet he signs.

In the unlikely event that Mo does not get traded at the draft, and he signs an offer sheet with another team, the Caps would get compensated.

For 2008-09, the compensation due for signing a RFA to an Offer Sheet was:

Amount Compensation Due

$863,156 or less : None

$863,156 - $1,307,812 : 3rd round pick

$1,307,812 - $2,615,625 : 2nd round pick

$2,615,623 - $3,923,437 : 1st and 3rd round pick

$3,923,437 - $5,231,249 : 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick

$5,231,249 - $6,539,062 : Two 1st's, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick

$6,539,062 or more : Four 1st round picks

With the Salary cap expected to remain close to the same level as this season or decrease slightly, I can't see the compensation changing much. That would put Mo's value somewhere between a 2nd round pick and a combination of a first and third round pick.

If you think back to recent trade deadlines, the Caps got Fedorov for a second round drafted player (Ruth), and Huet for a 2nd round pick.

I would count on Mo being a significant piece of a multi player trade sometime before Free agency, most likely at the first day of the draft. He could be packaged with another mid level prospect in Hershey or a 2nd or 3rd rounder to get decent return.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | May 26, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

A one-way contract only means that you get paid the same $$ whether you are in DC or Hershey. Does not stop the Caps from sending a player down. And you can be waiver wire bait on a one-way or two-way contract if you are beyond an entry level contract (Read CBA for specifics - I don't have time to pull them out today). And there is a threshhold of a minimum number of NHL games before the Caps even have to consider offering a one-way. I think it is unlikely Bourque would be given a one-way with the few NHL games he has. He has to prove staying power. I think Osala has a better chance of making the big team next year than Bourque.

Posted by: Varly | May 26, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse


I agree, my point was the 2nd line center is not on the roster or in hershey.

Posted by: ThePat | May 26, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

It wouldn't surprise me to see Leach land a head coaching gig, if not in the NHL, perhaps at the AHL. Calgary has an opening....

Posted by: MikeL-Caps91 | May 26, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

SombreroGuy: The only fly in your ointment, and it's a really nasty fly, is if Morrisonn opts for arbitration. At that point, the only options the Caps have are to accept the surely unpalatable amount the judge selects, or walk away. The idea of him hitting the market and getting an offer and the Caps getting the draft-choice compensation is great, I just don't think the player will lean that way.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 26, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Would the Caps receive any compensation if another team signs one of their restricted free agents?

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | May 26, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Some team, surely, will offer Bourque, at least, a one-way deal at one dollar less than the compensation threshhold.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 26, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

petey, see Sombrero's post above about RFA compensation

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 26, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

IIRC Caps need to offer Mo a Qualifying Offer to get compensation, though. And that has to be at least what he makes now (too late in the work day to look it up).

Posted by: koalatek | May 26, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: richmondphil | May 26, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh thanks.

I don't care how Schultz and Morrisson leave town I just do not want to see them anywhere near the caps blue line next season.

Juice is good but I wouldn't care if left but I do like Sloan.

Give me Poti, Pothier, Sloan, Alzner and a couple FA's and I will be a very happy man.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | May 26, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

no Green, petey?

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 26, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Give me Poti, Pothier, Sloan, Alzner and a couple FA's and I will be a very happy man.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | May 26, 2009 4:14 PM |

I sure as hell would not be.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 26, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Could the Caps sell Nylander to a KHL team like they do in soccer?

Please say they can.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | May 26, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

no, Nylander has a No Movement Clause. its exactly what it sounds like.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 26, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1: Given that he's gone to arbitration twice, I think you're right. And if he does go to arbitration, the Caps let him walk. They have to. We've got too many good D down in Hershey who come cheaper than he does. Guess it's a question of whether he really wants to be a Cap next year or not.

I'm not convinced on Aucoin not being enough. He might surprise you. Keep in mind, we're a much more skeptical bunch than GMGM or BB, and who is usually right? :) I don't see Laich as a second-line center either - I like him better in the role he's been playing. It's very much GMGM's style to throw him into the fire and see what he gets before making a big trade splash - and absolutely there's lots of time to figure out forward before playoffs next year. I still think the trade splash will be on D.

I also agree, I love Feds and Koz, but let 'em go. We can replace them out of Hershey, and I like the Jake Hauswirth signing.

If I'm Bourque, I take a minimum-year deal if I can. He's NHL material somewhere, and if he can't make it up to the big club, I wouldn't fault him for signing with a club that can fit him in.

Posted by: kittypawz | May 26, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Ooops forgot about Green, I guess him disappering in the playoffs made me forget he was still on the team.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | May 26, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Bourque can take all the minimum deals he wants, but he's "only" and RFA and ultimately the Caps pretty much ahve the last word on whether he says in the organization.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 26, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

bourque needs to get decent or grow 6 inches.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 26, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie: For now. That doesn't last forever, or really much longer if memory serves.

Posted by: kittypawz | May 26, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

If I remember correctly, Hauswirth netted a hat trick in the rookie scrimmage I attended, then added the game-winner in the shootout.

Posted by: Cerealman | May 26, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

@ tominfl1

Why would they offer any player with FAR less than the minimums required a one-way contract. Page 31 of the Articles section of the CBA, section a)iii says (not word for word here) that in order for team to be required to offer a one-way contract a player needs to have played 180 NHL games in the preceeding 3 seasons or 60 in the preceeding season. Otherwise it would be expected that a two-way contract would be offered to an RFA.

Flash's contract is a two-way (his agent had asked for a one-way over the summer and thus the training camp without a contract until he took the two-way)and I would guess so is Fehr's (can't remeber details from last fall on his).

Posted by: Varly | May 26, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Mike Green was hurt in the playoffs - he did not disappear.

Posted by: MReilly9 | May 26, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil, I'm insulted! There's nothing wrong with being 5'7". ;-D

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 26, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

@Tom - Yeah, I couldn't remember if it was team elected or player elected arbitration, but I expect him to be gone before that happens.

@random other people -

Schultz is better than a lot of people on here give him credit for. For what its worth, he was playing with a broken rib in game 1 against the Rangers that arguably let to the game winner.

I know many can't think beyond the notion that the only way to play defense is with punishing hits, but those people would be wrong. Sure I'd like to see him use his 6'6 frame to drop the hammer a bit more often, but if he choses to use it via his reach and positioning instead, I'm ok with it.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | May 26, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Any assistant coach that is looking after the defense would love to have Milan Jurcina back. Be sure to get him signed.

Would Guy Carbonneau be available to take the job? He was a great defensive forward himself and the forwards need to be taught to help on defense.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | May 26, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Mo definitely should not be back next season.

Much better options available, and at a lower price.

Posted by: digster1013 | May 26, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I like learning about hockey through the message boards. It's more fun that way. I prefer that as opposed to people faulting me for only being a Capitals fan since last October and/or calling them out on insulting the team I've grown to love. Thanks, everyone, for enriching my hockey knowledge.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 26, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

LeftCoast, everyone has to start their fandom at some point in time and our hockey community would be plain stupid not to welcome new fans with open arms. How can any sport be expected to grow their fan base if they reject those who can only name the 1974-1975 Capitals roster?

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 26, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

How about luring Ray Bourque to Washington as the defensive assistant?

Posted by: cwiseman | May 26, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

The problem with Shultz is that when you're that big, you better start hitting people or some fans will not stop hackling you.

Just ask Larry Murphy, Kevin Hatcher and Sergei Gonchar. Hatcher deserved to be hackled but the other two didn't. It may not be fair but that's the way it is in this town.

Posted by: joek443 | May 26, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

this must be a mistake... LOL

does the player choose the picture? can't be the case...

Posted by: joek443 | May 26, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

In 2004, Larry Murphy, along with fellow blueliners Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque and Builder Cliff Fletcher, was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Understated and under-heralded, Larry Murphy prompted The National Post to write, 'His skating is cautious rather than fluid, his play methodical rather than unabashed or bruising, his passing, virtually flawless, has a molasses-like quality.' Larry adds, "I couldn't shoot a puck 100 mph and I wasn't going to run a guy through the boards or skate through the whole team. My game and my whole career always had kind of a low-key approach. I'm happy with that."

In his Induction speech, Murphy stated, "To be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, in such esteemed company, is an honour and a privilege. On these walls are the greatest players ever to play the game. To be included in this group is an affirmation of my career."

Posted by: joek443 | May 26, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Hauswirth = new Stecks?
Aucoin = what's the fascination with small ppl aka midgets?

Look how those big Penz are kicking every1's arse.
Big ppl beat little ppl.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 26, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse


agreed - 2nd line center not at Hershey. I was thinking it might be Koz. We'll probably have to pick one up in a trade or signing. GMGM prefers trades. Hmm, I wonder how much it would take to get Mikko Koivu? (Too much, I'd guess...)

Also, I agree that Osala is close. He's big, coordinated, and he skates very well. Aucoin, I think, didn't seem to good on the half-boards yet, at least in the game I saw (Tampa Bay).

Posted by: WritingLight | May 27, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

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