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McPhee: 'We'll See if They Can Win a Third Cup Together'

Here is some of my story on Bob Woods's promotion for tomorrow's Post:

For the second time in less than two years, the Washington Capitals have turned to their farm team to fill a coaching vacancy.

Earlier today, the team promoted Bob Woods from the American Hockey League's Hershey Bears to assistant coach in Washington, where he will join coaching mentor and close friend Bruce Boudreau behind the Capitals' bench.

Woods guided the Bears to AHL championship this month and was an assistant under Boudreau when the Bears claimed the Calder Cup in 2006. The 41-year-old Saskatchewan native replaces Jay Leach, whose contract was not renewed, and will coach the defensemen.

"With the talent [the Capitals] have and the experience they've had the past couple of years in the playoffs, we're very close," said Woods, who has no prior NHL coaching or playing experience. "I wanted to be a part of that."

Woods amassed an 83-47-15 regular season record in Hershey and went 17-10 in the playoffs, including a six-game victory over Manitoba in this spring's final.

"Hershey is a tough place to leave," Woods added. "But we're in this business to make it to the NHL. It took me almost 20 years to get there and I'm just excited to finally make it and be back with Bruce."

Woods played for Boudreau with Mississippi of the ECHL when the Sea Wolves won the Kelly Cup in 1999. He retired as a player in 2001 as the ECHL's all-time leader in games played with 559, then coached Mississippi for four seasons before joining Boudreau's staff in Hershey in 2005. Woods took over for Boudreau with the Bears when Boudreau was promoted to the Capitals in November 2007.

"He's coached all of our young guys," Boudreau said. "From a defensive standpoint, he's coached Mike Green and Jeff Schultz and Karl Alzner and John Carlson. He already knows what makes them tick."

The Capitals received nearly to dozen resumes for the assistant coaching vacancy, but no one was interviewed for the opening - including Woods.

"Our criteria was [for the candidate to be] a former defenseman," Boudreau said of Woods, who was drafted in 201st overall by New Jersey in 1988. "We asked him, we knew what we wanted and it was simple. Bob was the only guy I was looking at."

General Manager George McPhee said he believes Woods's winning record, chemistry with Boudreau and familiarity with the organization's prospects offsets his lack of experience at the NHL level.

"He was our man because he did very well developing our young players and leading Hershey to the championship," McPhee said. "Bruce and Bob ... have been together a long time. They won a Cup together in the ECHL and in the AHL, and they've also done well separately. So now they're reunited and we'll see if they can win a third Cup together."

The Bears have not hired a replacement for Woods.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  June 22, 2009; 5:50 PM ET
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Next: Morning Reading List: Caps Hire Woods


I wonder who the nearly two dozen were that sent in resumes and if any of them had any NHL coaching experience.

Posted by: MReilly9 | June 22, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Awesome stuff! Hiring Woods is a no-brainer, if you ask me.

1) Experience coaching our boys.

2) Calder Cup, twice in three years (once with Boudreau as head coach), so he knows Boo's coaching style, and they work together well.

3) This year's Bears team showed a LOT of what our Caps are missing in the "grit and grind" department.

Woods is going to do VERY well with Boudreau. I feel it in my bones. :)

Posted by: irockthered | June 22, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I hope nobody is thinking Scotty Bowman or someone like that applied to be the Caps' ASSISTANT coach...

Posted by: megatroll1 | June 22, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Like everyone, I'm just looking forward to what magic they could conjure up this upcoming season. *sigh*

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | June 22, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse


Can it be July 1 yet?

Posted by: thiazzi | June 22, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Tonight's rerun of Miracle on 34th Street made me think happy October thoughts ... almost as much as the nasty heat and humidity did. Woods and Boudreau have a pattern together, here's hoping they stick to it.

Posted by: kittypawz | June 22, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

This year's class of hockey hall of fame

Yzerman, Brett Hull and Luc Lobitaille - no brainers

Brian Leetch - probably in but I wouldn't vote him in the first year

Dave Andreychuk, Alexander Mogilny - very good players but not hall of fame worthy

Posted by: joek443 | June 22, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Mogilny is a lock for the HOF. Maybe not this year, but he's a lock.

Posted by: thiazzi | June 22, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I thought Mogilny was a lock also but I looked at his stats and he only had two great seasons. I don't think that's hall of fame worthy.

Posted by: joek443 | June 22, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you joek443. I think Dale Hunter should go in before Andreychuk.

Posted by: jmurray019 | June 22, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Luc Robitaile I meant, my apologies to Lucky Luc for mispelling his name, statiscally the all-time best left winger till OV breaks all his records.

jmurray019, I agree.. there's been only one player with over 1000 points and 2000 penalty minutes in this history of the NHL, that alone should get Dale Hunter in the HOF.

Posted by: joek443 | June 22, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Mogilny gets in on his cred as one of the first trailblazing Russians. Had Feds not broken his goals record this past season, I think it would be a no-brainer.

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 22, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

correction - over 3000 penalty minutes for Dale, 3565 to be exact, plus 729 in the playoffs

Posted by: joek443 | June 22, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I think this Hershey mentality is a bit dangerous. GMGM and Uncle Ted are going to learn the hard way that a seasoned NHL level coach has no substitute. Marc Crawford and Jacques Martin types - both of whom got jobs for next season. Boudreau is a maverick, and very non-traditional for a group of high flying kids. Thats like fuel to the fire. Noone ever won the cup with the kind of defensive indiscipline we saw in both series. Now you can lay that on Leach, but Boudreau was there. There is time for a Doug Collins, and then there is a time for a Phil Jackson - I lean on the conservative side of a seasoned NHL coach to take the reins from here on. I don't think the Caps organization and its fans can take another gut-wrenching "what if" exit from the playoffs next year. If that happens next year, I can assure you Boudreau wil be under the microscope and maybe on a bus if not under it.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | June 22, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse


I don't believe this team needs a coaching change. I agree that any team that plays defense like this team will never win the Cup but that has more to do with the players than coaching.

Besides neither Marc Crawford or Jacques Martin would be an improvement over BB. If you wanna gonna go that route meaning instant success in the playoffs, you might as well go after Mike Keenan who's always good for 2 or 3 years till he wears out his welcome.

Posted by: joek443 | June 22, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the Caps organization and its fans can take another gut-wrenching "what if" exit from the playoffs next year. If that happens next year, I can assure you Boudreau wil be under the microscope and maybe on a bus if not under it.
Posted by: Political_Stratgst | June 22, 2009 10:59 PM |

2 seasons removed from not being in the playoffs & then 2 7 games exits & you are ready to throw out the baby & the bath water?

Wow, I like to see what kind of Fortune 500 business you run.
Not of lucky teams like the pinz who get 2 top 5 players in 2 years & get to the cup in the 3rd year ya know.

u saw how the pinz won the cup vs Detroit? it was great goaltending & timely goals. defense was trying to mover he puck out of their zone quickly. Doesn't take a rocket scientist.

Posted by: Rocc00 | June 23, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Political_Stratgst has been tooting that "If that happens next year, I can assure you Boudreau will be under the microscope and maybe on a bus if not under it" crap for a while.

No offense, but Meteorologists have been doing with weather what Pol_Strat's been doing with Boudreau and his chances of getting a Stanley Cup with our team, predicting the worse and relishes being right instead of being wrong. It might happen; it might not. I think it's clear that the team likes Boudreau and what he's done. I'm not a fan of blaming the coach if the players don't perform. I'd imagine Woods' familiarity with a majority of the defensemen and his past relationship with Boudreau could only help the team next year, not hurt it.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | June 23, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

@Political_Stratgst: Oh really? I think Dan Bylsma might provide you with some food for thought on that point.

@joek443: Hmmm. I think the players are capable of playing the sort of defense that is required. Consider the games last season against Boston and Detroit, and a period that allowed no shots on goal whatsoever. When they're on the same page and working as a unit, and they all keep their coverages and stick to the system, it works like a charm. The problem comes when things aren't going well - players try to step up and be the hero, instead of sticking to the gameplan and the system, and that is where you get defesive breakdowns and odd-man rushes.

Leach was inherited from Glen Hanlon's defense-first system, and going from that to Boudreau's six-gun, high-flying style is a major change. Woods already knows that system and has proven ability to execute it to great effect. If you've ever been up to Hershey or watched them play online, you'd see it in action. The Bears really are the baby Caps in just about every way, except they finish checks and do the little things, and they stick to the system when things go wrong. It's no accident that this team posted its best record when the blueline was pretty much all chocolate.

I don't think that "NHL EXPERIENCE" *cue booming reverb voice* is necessarily the answer here - after all, Jay Leach had it - he was with the Kings and the Thrashers before he came to Washington. The system works, when executed consistently - going for someone who knows it and has proven chemistry with the head coach (I think a Kelly Cup and a Calder Cup is proven chemistry, yes?) makes sense. If you want playoff experience, get it at the deadline, it comes cheaper then than in the offseason. :)

Also, McPhee's comment here reassures me: "So now they're reunited and we'll see if they can win a third Cup together." That tells me exactly what this organization is thinking - eyes on the prize, baby. They're going to go for it this year, and well they should.

Posted by: kittypawz | June 23, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Rocc: I rarely agree with your comments but today I do. Well said. If the Caps are building the D from within then who better to coach the kids than a guy who has already coached them and knows their strengths and weaknesses?

Posted by: ds_kelly | June 23, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Quote of the day from Bruce Boudreau:

"It's really gratifying to find someone that you know and can trust and that you can work with that already knows the system you play," Boudreau said, "knows all of the ins and outs about how my head works."

Does anyone really know the ins and outs of BB's head???

Morning reading from the Patriot News:

Posted by: tess2201 | June 23, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Please Please Please Please Please just get rid of schultz.....I'm willing to deal with anything else. Dont make any moves if you dont want to...Just please dont let schultz play.

Posted by: CapsFan44 | June 23, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

"Boudreau is a maverick, and very non-traditional for a group of high flying kids. " - Political whatever

It's a sea change and the old guard, of which you're one, will be left on the beach. The Paradigm has shifted. Better adapt.

Posted by: Greg S. | June 23, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Ok, accuse me of being a glass half full guy. I like Woods and he will work great in DC. However - I am concerned that perhaps the coaching systems might go out of sync because the new coach for the Bears might not be on the same page as BB. The BB and Woods combo was unique in that both coaches played and coached together. I guess I wont be happy till I know who is coaching the Bears.

Posted by: cirrus_nine | June 23, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

For all of you worried about having a solid coach in Hershey....

I think the Caps look at the next two years as the best chance to win the cup. If this guy will gel well with Bruce then lets go get it.

We can always send him back if things dont work out. It's all about the big club now in my opinion.

Posted by: SA-Town | June 23, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Agree with SA-Town. The window of opportunity for winning a cup is open right now. As you say, it's all about the "big club" now.

Posted by: PensFan98 | June 23, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

CapsFan44 .... why don't you like Schultz? He's just a kid for heaven's sake. And oftentimes when he's looked bad, it's when he's been paired with Green, making him the lone defenseman on a 4-forward line.

You'd be making a big mistake giving up on him, IMO. With time and teaching (and some weight gain) I think he can be a competent NHL defenseman.

Posted by: PensFan98 | June 23, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz: Good note there.

I leave on vacation tomorrow and get back late on the 1st. I will miss therefore the draft and the frenzied (or perhaps this year subdued) free agency kick-off. A lot depends with FA on what they do with the cap. If it comes down, like the projection, July 1st should be subdued. As for the Caps, if the cap is lower, McPhee has very little room to maneuver.

What I expect on draft day is for sure the club trades Morrisonn. They will want a number #1 pick. Maybe they can do like with Eminger and toss back a #4 or 5 to get a #1. That would be a coup. It would be like collecting a dividend. Also, you could move Mo and the club's #1 for a higher number 1, many things possible. I also expect them to field offers for Jurcina and they might try and move Poti. Signing Sloan gives McPhee wiggle room. Collins also was NHL capable as a 4th pair, 3rd on occasion. Alzner is just around the corner and Carlson isn't far behind. Out with the old, in with the new.

Posted by: tominfl1 | June 23, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

There are two guys out there who know the Caps system and are capable of coaching/teaching the Bears: Mark French, who was Woods' assistant in Hershey, and Bednar, the SCarolina head coach. I would be comfortable with either one of them moving up.

Posted by: tess2201 | June 23, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

The Capitals are building their team the way the Orioles used to, from the inside out.

You will see Alzner and Carlson in the NHL sooner rather than later, while the club will opportunistically look to add a veteran or two who has Stanley Cup experience.

With the cap expected to decrease after next season, that is the ONLY strategy for keeping your core intact.

The Caps have Ovechkin and Green signed long-term but still don't have deals in place with Backstrom or Semin or Varlamov.

Spending too much on free agents this year without trading or not signing other vets whose deals are up means that one of these younger players (most likely Semin) may not be resigned.

I for one am not in favor of acquiring Rob Scuderi or Andy Sutton if it means letting a 40 goal scorer under 25 depart after next season.

Posted by: leopard09 | June 23, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

leopard09: At first I thought you were one of those middle-aged ladies, but then I realized they are "cougars."

If the cap is lower, and that needs to be announced prior to July 1st, the Caps really can't play in FA w/o moving a major salary. In a perfect world, Nyles goes to Russia and someone offers for Theo and Chris Clark returns to 2006-7 form. Then we can bring back Johnny and get a Scuderi and not compromise the future.

Posted by: tominfl1 | June 23, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I think this is Semin's last chance to put together a solid healthy 50 goal, 100 pt year.

If he doesnt..he wont be back.

He has the talent to be a monster....he needs to show the dedication...He should put on 10 lbs of muscle this off-season.

Posted by: SA-Town | June 23, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1: Boy, you don't want much! :D How about asking for the winning lottery numbers and world peace while you're at it?

I agree that ShaMo may well move at draft day, especially if GMGM sees something he wants like he did with Carlson. Resigning Sloan and Collins gives him the option to do so, and that's a salary shed right there. I doubt there will be an offer for Theodore unless somebody really doesn't have a better option. It's far, far more likely that the offer will be for either Neuvirth or Holtby, and GMGM'd be a fool to move Neuvirth yet. Let's let Varly play a full year in the NHL before we do anything with either one.

@SA-Town: You hit the nail on the head, sir. Ted's and GMGM's comments suggest that last season told them that the window is open, and that they need to make a few tweaks to take advantage of it. They're going for it this year, and expect GMGM to structure his salaries accordingly. I expect him to leave some room this year, as much as he can, to make any necessary deadline moves.

Posted by: kittypawz | June 23, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1: Boy, you don't want much! :D How about asking for the winning lottery numbers and world peace while you're at it?

I wouldn't mind if this 100 degrees everyday would quit.

Posted by: tominfl1 | June 23, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Pensfan98.....too slow. need fast D or teams like the Pens who have fast forwards like Malkin and crosby will blow right ny them.

Posted by: CapsFan44 | June 23, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

not to mention the fact that he's not physical enough.

Posted by: CapsFan44 | June 23, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Some interesting posts on the Hershey Bears blog:

Dealing with the U/RFA's. Who may be back. Who may be leaving.

And who's left and may be joining the Bears.

Posted by: Greg S. | June 23, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm not saying that Boudreau and Woods are bad. I like them both. But, GMGM's comments to me are amateurish.....

2 Calder Cups do not equal 2 Stanley Cups. They would not be going for their 3rd cup together.

They would be going for their first Stanley Cup together. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Posted by: CF11555 | June 23, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

@pltical_stratgst, @ds_kelly

I also worry about the lack of NHL level experience on Woods's part: he didn't get beyond ECHL as a player, then coached in AHL. He may be great - who knows? - but what can he tell Carlson to do when he's being forechecked by Crosby, Malkin et al?

OTOH, he did win a Calder Cup. After all, Brian Murray was brilliant coaching the power play and the defense and he came in with just junior experience...

Posted by: WritingLight | June 23, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Schultz is too nice. Not physical enough. Slow. He should be throwing his size around. We have a lot of D'men in the minors. Trade Flash and Schultz for picks. Trade Theodore to ST Louis and sign Johnson. Sign Nik Antropov as the 2nd line center, get a veteran voice in the locker room and let the young guys from Hershey fill the spots.

All that and we win the Cup

Posted by: jmurray019 | June 23, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Schultz is too nice. Not physical enough. Slow. He should be throwing his size around. We have a lot of D'men in the minors. Trade Flash and Schultz for picks.
All that and we win the Cup

Posted by: jmurray019 | June 23, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Why are you trading the youngest player on the blueline?

Posted by: Section117 | June 23, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse


"There are two guys out there who know the Caps system and are capable of coaching/teaching the Bears: Mark French, who was Woods' assistant in Hershey, and Bednar, the SCarolina head coach. I would be comfortable with either one of them moving up."

That's good to know. I feel this is one of the greatest strengths of the Caps organization. The fact that their minor league teams play the same system as their NHL team makes plugging in players easier and their transition to the NHL faster.

I know we all want to get the Cup, but if you want to be a great organization, it is a continual building process (ie see RedWings).

On who should be on the bubble (astericks mark guys that we are forced to keep)
Shultz - i gave up on him last year. You can't learn heart. He doesnt have the killer instinct.
Shamo - just a horrible year and is too expensive for what he brings.
*Theo over Johnson sadly due to Theo's contract.
*Nylander - just cant fit in our system. Still a #2 center.
Clark - I think Clark is done. He was injured for most of last year and I am pissed he played that long on the injury. Someone dropped the ball here. He played to long with that injury risking further damage and holding back development of some other talents
Kozlov - already gone
Federov - if we can get him to play at 2-2.5, he is a keeper.

Posted by: | June 23, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: cirrus_nine | June 23, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse


if you are basing the so called Caps defensive prowess on a few REGULAR seasaon games against a couple teams, I really don't know what to tell you other than you don't know much about hockey.

Even the most free-wheeling offensive team in the history of the NHL the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980's paid more attention to defense in the playoffs than this group of the Caps. The problem is the personnel, not coaching. The Oilers had all that offensive talent but they also had defensive standouts like Kevin Lowe and Charlie Huddy, not to mentione the goaltending of Grant Fuhr.

NO TEAM that gives up the kind of chances like the Caps gave up against the Pens in this year's playoffs will ever win the Cup, NEVER gonna happen.

Posted by: joek443 | June 23, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Emphasize the joek443's comments are on point. The Caps problems on defense are personnel, not coaching. We lack any real defensive defenseman who can clear out the front of the net like a Hal Gil or Rob Scuderi of the Pens. Second, besides Green and Poti, none of our defenseman are particularly good passers or good in getting the puck out of our defensive end. Alzner should be an upgrade over Morrisson, Jurcina, and Erskine, but I don't see the Caps breaking in two rookies on defense next season (i.e Carlson).

The Caps need to free up some cap space through not resigning certain players (Morrisson,Feds) and sign a rugged blueliner if they want to get to the next level. Second, they need to take a serious look at Sloan and Collins to see if they are an upgrade over some of our current defensemen.

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 23, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

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