Tampa Bay Lightning might be close to hiring Adam Oates as an assistant
The Lightning thinks so much of what Adam Oates has done for the power play, it is talking to him about a contract as an assistant coach. Oates, a buddy of Lightning coach Rick Tocchet, has been working as an unpaid consultant during training camp as a favor to his former Bruins, Flyers and Capitals teammate.
But with the power play clicking at 24.1 percent (10-for-41) during preseason, fourth in the league, and after a dazzling performance in its preseason finale against the Thrashers, in which it went 3-for-7, talks apparently got a lot more serious. Nothing is set yet, so there still is a chance it won't get worked out, but, with apologies to Jerry Seinfeld, the wheels seem to be in motion.
Tocchet declined to talk about the possibility directly. But when asked if Oates has a chance to stick around once preseason ends, the coach said, "I think so. I probably have one more dinner with him tonight and see where his head is at. I would like to have him. He's added a lot to us."
As for what Oates, one of the game's greatest passers, has meant to the power play and how much more he could do, Tocchet said, "He hasn't even scratched the surface yet. With Adam with his philosophy, he has about four things he wants done and you do them well. I made the mistake last year, we had 12 different things, different plays, and we had everybody spinning everywhere. That's on me. He came in here and settled things down for me. He said, 'Let's do four things and do them well, and make sure everybody is in the right position.' Everybody has bought in so far."
And this: "I can see that they guys have abounce in their step when he's talking about power play. He's got (1,079) assists. He was pretty potent on that power play and knows certain things about the power play."