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Ex-Caps Behind Bench in Cup Clash

Craig Berube and Bruce Cassidy did time in D.C., but so did dozens of other coaches and hockey ops staffers from the other 30 NHL clubs

by Mike Vogel @VogsCaps /

When the Stanley Cup Final series gets underway early next week, the Caps will be represented behind the benches of both the Boston and St. Louis sides. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy served in the same role here in Washington from 2002-04, and Blues bench boss Craig Berube spent several seasons of his lengthy NHL playing career here in two separate tours of duty.

A decade or two ago, there was a running joke around the NHL that every team had an ex-Hartford Whaler on its coaching staff. These days, it seems as though the Caps are the team with representation within the hockey operations and/or coaching staffs of virtually every team around the league.

A quick scan of the front office and coaching staffs around NHL reveals a raft of personnel with Caps connections on virtually every team in the league. Here's a look at that list, one that is not intended to be all-inclusive, as some may have slipped through the cracks.

Anaheim - The Ducks started the season with Randy Carlyle as their bench boss, though he was relieved of his duties late in the 2018-19 season. Carlyle is a former Caps assistant coach, serving in that position during the Glen Hanlon era here in Washington.

AHL San Diego head coach Dallas Eakins was a Washington draft choice (10th round, pick No. 208 overall) but never donned a Caps sweater for a regular season game.

Arizona - Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet was briefly a Capital during the latter stages of a distinguished playing career. Tocchet came to D.C. on March 1, 1997 as part of a blockbuster six-player deal with the Boston Bruins that also brought Adam Oates and Bill Ranford to Washington. Tocchet played 13 games of his 1,144-game NHL career in a Caps sweater.

Coyotes player development coach Alex Henry spent 38 games of his 177-game NHL career with the Caps, all during the 2002-03 season.

Coyotes pro scout Ted Dent was a member of Washington's coaching staff for a few seasons in the early 2000s, serving as the team's video coach.

John Slaney serves as an assistant coach for Arizona's AHL Tucson affiliate. Slaney was the Caps' first-round pick (ninth overall) in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, and Washington was the first of seven NHL teams for which he toiled. Slaney played professionally in North America from 1991-2007, logging 268 games at the highest level. He skated the first 63 of those NHL games with the Caps from 1993-95.

Boston - Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy held the same post in Washington from 2002-04. He was 47-47-9-7 in 110 games behind the Caps' bench.

Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco spent three seasons of his 13-year NHL career here from 1999-2002.

Bruins scout Tom McVie was the fourth head coach in Caps history, running the bench in Washington from 1975-78. McVie posted a 49-122-33 record as the Caps' head coach.

Trent Whitfield is an assistant coach for the Bruins' AHL Providence affiliate. Whitfield played 194 games in the NHL, scattered over eight different seasons with four teams from 2000-13. Whitfield broke into the NHL with the Caps, and played 143 games with Washington from 2000-04.

Buffalo - Phil Housley coached the Sabres in 2018-19, but was relieved of his duties at season's end. Housley spent part of his Hall of Fame playing career in Washington, where he played in his 1,000th game during the 1997-98 season. Housley spent two seasons of his 21-year playing career in the District, and he played for the first Caps team to reach the Stanley Cup Final in 1998.

Sabres assistant coach Chris Hajt - son of longtime Sabres defenseman Bill Hajt - had a brief NHL career of his own, playing six NHL games in two seasons, including five of them in Washington in 2003-04.

Sabres player development coach Krys Barch was the Caps' fourth-round choice (106th overall) in the 1998 NHL Draft, and although he never played for the Caps, he went on to enjoy an eight-year career in the NHL.

Calgary - Tod Button is Calgary's director of amateur scouting. He spent three seasons as a Washington assistant coach in the mid-1990s.

Cail MacLean is the head coach of Calgary's AHL Stockton affiliate. MacLean never made it to the NHL as a player, but he concluded his pro playing career with three seasons with the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays, a Caps affiliate team. MacLean went on to serve as an assistant coach with the Stingrays for a couple of seasons after hanging up his skates. MacLean scored the first goal in the history of Giant Center, home of the AHL Hershey Bears.

Carolina - Former NHL defenseman Tim Gleason works for the Canes in defensemen development. Gleason finished his NHL career here in Washington, playing his last 17 NHL games in a Caps sweater after coming over from Carolina at the trade deadline in 2015.

Chicago - Ron Anderson serves as Blackhawks director of player recruitment. Anderson was a member of the inaugural 1974-75 Capitals team, playing in 28 games and scoring nine goals for the Caps in his only NHL season.

Andrei Nikolishin is a "Russia amateur scout" for the Hawks. Nikolishin was a member of Washington's 1998 Stanley Cup final team, and he spent 407 games of his 628-game NHL career in a Caps sweater.

Peter Sundstrom is a European pro scout for Chicago. He spent 11 games of his 338-game NHL career with Washington, skating with the Caps from 1987-89.

Steve Leach is a pro scout for Chicago. Leach was Washington's second-round pick (No. 34 overall) in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, and he spent the first 246 games of a 702-game NHL career in a Caps sweater.

Colorado - Longtime NHL netminder Craig Billington is an assistant general manager with the Avalanche who spent the last four seasons of his playing career (1999-2003) with the Capitals.

Colorado head coach Jared Bednar spent five seasons as an assistant coach for the Caps' ECHL South Carolina affiliate, and eventually ascended to the head coaching position there, leading the team to a Kelly Cup title in 2009.

Brian Willsie is a development consultant for the Avalanche. Willsie had two separate playing stints with the Caps, scoring a career high 19 goals and serving as Alex Ovechkin's first ever road roommate during the 2005-06 season. He came back to the District for the one-game swan song to his NHL career in 2010-11.

Columbus - Ville Siren is the Blue Jackets' director of amateur scouting. Years ago, he served as a scout with the Capitals.

Josef Boumedienne is Columbus' director of European scouting. A defenseman during his playing days, Boumedienne played 47 games during a brief NHL career, and 43 of those came in a Washington uniform from 2002-04.

Blue Jackets assistant coach Brad Shaw enjoyed a 377-game NHL career as a defenseman, including four contests in a Caps uniform in 1998-99 after Washington picked him up off the waiver wire.

Chris Clark is the Jackets' director of player development. Clark is a former Caps captain; he wore the "C" immediately ahead of Alex Ovechkin and played in 240 games with the Caps from 2005-09 before being traded to Columbus for Jason Chimera. Clark enjoyed his best NHL season in 2006-07 when he scored 30 goals and put up 54 points playing on a line with Ovechkin and Dainius Zubrus.

Dallas - Todd Nelson serves as a Dallas assistant coach. Back in the 1990s, he played two games for the Caps, scoring his lone NHL goal with Washington in an April 12, 1994 game against Winnipeg.

Jim Bedard is the Stars' goaltending development coach. He was the Caps' sixth-round choice (91st overall) in the 1976 NHL Amateur Draft, and he spent the entirety of his NHL playing career with Washington, posting a 17-40-13 record in 73 games here from 1977-79.

Detroit - Red Wings pro scout Archie Henderson was Washington's 10th round pick (156th overall) in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft. Henderson debuted with the caps in 1980-81, playing seven of his 23 career games in a Washington sweater. He later served as a pro scout for the Caps for several seasons.

Mike Knuble is an assistant coach for the Wings' AHL Grand Rapids affiliate. Knuble had a long and distinguished NHL playing career that spanned from 1996-2013, and he spent three seasons with the Caps from 2009-13.

Edmonton - None.

Florida - Shortly after the conclusion of the 2018-19 regular season, the Panthers hired Joel Quenneville as their head coach. Quenneville finished an 803-game NHL playing career when he skated in nine games for the 1990-91 edition of the Capitals.

Los Angeles - Marco Sturm is a Kings assistant coach. Late in his distinguished, 938-game NHL career, Sturm joined the Caps via waiver claim and skated in 18 regular season and nine playoff contests with Washington in 2010-11.

Bill Ranford is the Kings' goaltending coach. Ranford won the 1990 Conn Smythe Trophy, and later joined the Caps in a March 1, 1996 six-player blockbuster with the Boston Bruins. Ranford appeared in 40 games over two seasons with the Caps, posting a 15-19-4 record.

Rob Laird is a senior pro scout with Los Angeles. He spent the 1989-90 season as an assistant coach with the Capitals.

Stefan Ustorf is a European pro scout with the Kings. Ustorf was the Caps' third-round pick (53rd overall) in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. The entirety of his 54-game NHL career was spent here in D.C. from 1995-97, but he played professionally in his native Germany through the 2011-12 season.

Craig Johnson works in player development for the Kings. Johnson finished up his 557-game NHL career with the Caps at the tail end of the 2003-04 season, playing 15 games with Washington after being claimed off waivers from Toronto.

Minnesota - Bruce Boudreau is the Wild head coach, and he served in the same post here in the District from 2007-11. Boudreau was 201-88-40 during his days as the Caps' bench boss.

Minnesota assistant coaches Dean Evason and Bob Woods both served in the same posts here in Washington, Evason from 2005-12 and Woods from 2009-12. Additionally, Evason was the Caps' fifth-round pick (89th overall) in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, and he pulled on a Capitals sweater for the first 17 games of what would be an 803-game NHL playing career.

Wild goaltending coach Bob Mason spent roughly half of his 145-game NHL playing career here in Washington, spread over two separate tours of duty in D.C. He posted a 35-29-7 regular season mark with the Caps, and was famously in net for the Caps' Game 7 loss to the Isles in the first round of the 1987 Stanley Cup playoffs, a four-overtime affair that still stands as the longest Game 7 in NHL history.

Minnesota video coach Jonas Plumb served in the same capacity for the Capitals in 2008-09.

Martin Gendron serves as an amateur scout for the Wild. Gendron was the Caps' third-round choice (71st overall) in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. He played in 30 games in the NHL, 28 of them with the Capitals from 1994-96.

Ernie Vargas is an amateur scout with the Wild, and he previously served in the same position with the Capitals.

Ivan Nepriaev is a European scout with the Wild. He was the Caps' fifth-round choice (163rd overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, but never played in the NHL. Nepriaev did play in the KHL through the 2014-15 season.

Tim Army is head coach of the Wild's AHL Iowa affiliate. Army was a Caps assistant coach from 1997-2002, and he served as head coach of the Capitals' AHL Portland affiliate from 2002-05.

Montreal - Larry Carriere is director of player personnel for the Canadiens' AHL Laval affiliate. Carriere served in Washington as a pro scout for several years before joining the Habs.

Nashville - Predators GM David Poile served in the same post here in Washington from 1982-96, turning the Caps from perennial doormats to perennial contenders.

New Jersey - Mike Grier is an assistant coach with the Devils. Grier had a distinguished NHL playing career in which he played 1,060 games for four NHL teams from 1996-2011. Grier spent two seasons with the Caps, playing 150 games in a Washington sweater from 2002-04.

Claude Noel is a pro scout with the Devils. Formerly a head coach with Columbus and Winnipeg, Noel had a brief seven-game NHL playing career, all with Washington in 1979-80.

New York Islanders - Barry Trotz is the Isles head coach, and he served in the same capacity with the Caps from 2014-18, leading Washington to a Stanley Cup championship last spring.

Lane Lambert is an Islanders assistant coach, and he held the same role here in the District under Trotz from 2014-18.

Mitch Korn is New York's director of goaltending. Korn served as goaltending coach and later as director of goaltending with Washington from 2014-18.

John Gruden is an Islanders assistant coach. Gruden had a 92-game NHL playing career spread over parts of six different seasons with three different clubs. Gruden finished up his career with the Caps, playing in 11 games here and scoring his lone NHL goal on Oct. 9, 2003, on opening night of the 2003-04 season. Not only was Gruden's lone NHL goal a game-winner, it also came against his current employer, the Islanders.

David Conte is a special assignment scout with the Islanders. In the early 1980s, he was a scout with the Capitals before moving on to New Jersey where he spent three decades as the Devils' director of scouting.

Trent Klatt is the Isles director of amateur scouting. Klatt was the caps' fourth-round choice (82nd overall) in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. At the draft two years later, he was dealt to the Minnesota North Stars before donning a Caps sweater in a regular season contest. Klatt enjoyed a 782-game NHL career from 1991-2004.

New York Rangers - Jim Schoenfeld recently stepped down from his longtime post as the Rangers' vice president and assistant GM. Schoenfeld coached several NHL clubs, including the Caps from 1994-97.

Steve Konowalchuk is an amateur scout for the Rangers. He was the Caps' third-round pick (58th overall) in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, and was a stalwart forward for the Caps from 1991-2003 before being dealt to Colorado. Konowalchuk was the Caps' captain when he was dealt to the Avs on Oct. 23, 2003.

Steve Eminger is a pro scout for the Blueshirts. Eminger was a first-round pick (12th overall) of the Capitals in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, and he spent the first five seasons of his 488-game NHL playing career in Washington.

Ottawa - John Perpich is a pro scout for the Senators. From 1990-94, Perpich was an assistant coach with the Capitals.

Troy Mann is head coach for Ottawa's AHL Belleville affiliate. Mann spent four seasons as an assistant coach for the Caps' AHL Hershey affiliate from 2009-13 and four seasons as head coach in Hershey from 2014-18.

Philadelphia - Ian Anderson is the Flyers' director of hockey analytics. He previously spent a decade in D.C. with the Caps, and was Washington's director of team services when he left to go to the Flyers.

Pittsburgh - Sergei Gonchar is an assistant coach with the Penguins. Gonchar was a Caps first-rounder (14th overall) in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. He debuted with Washington in the lockout-abbreviated 1994-95 season and went on to a 20-year career in which he suited up for 1,301 regular season games, with just over half (654) of those games coming in a Caps sweater.

Craig Patrick is a pro scout for the Pens, and previously served as lengthy stint as the team's GM. Most notably, he was one of the architects of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. Men's Olympic Hockey team. Before that, Patrick had a journeyman playing career of eight seasons in the NHL, and he made his final stop here in Washington where he played 75 games from 1976-79.

St. Louis - Interim head coach Craig Berube played in 1.054 NHL games over the course of a 17-year playing career in which he amassed 3,149 penalty minutes. Berube did two separate tours of duty with the Caps, playing 419 games over seven seasons with Washington. He played more games with the Caps than with any of the other four teams for which he toiled.

Tim Taylor is the Blues' director of player development and he also serves as a pro scout for St. Louis. Taylor was Washington's second-round pick (36th overall) in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. He never suited up for the Caps, getting shipped to Vancouver in a minor league swap in 1993, but went on to play 746 games over a 13-year career in the NHL. Taylor played on Cup championship teams in Detroit in 1997 and Tampa Bay in 2004.

San Jose - Rob Zettler is a Sharks assistant coach. During his playing days, Zettler skated in 569 games scattered over 14 seasons with six different clubs, winding up here in Washington, where he played 90 games from 1999-2002. Zettler joined ex-Caps bench boss Ron Wilson as an assistant in San Jose in 2002-03, then followed Wilson to Toronto in 2008. After a four-year stint as head coach of the AHL Syracuse Crunch, Zettler is back in San Jose, where his coaching career started 17 years ago.

Tampa Bay - Jeff Halpern just finished his first season as an assistant coach with the Lightning after a couple of seasons in the same position with AHL Syracuse. A native of D.C., Halpern signed with the Caps as a free agent out of Princeton University in 1999, and he went on to a 976-game NHL career with seven teams over 14 seasons. Halpern logged 507 games with Washington, and he was the Caps' captain in 2005-06 when Alex Ovechkin made his NHL debut.

Ken Klee is an assistant coach with the Lightning's AHL Syracuse affiliate. A ninth-round (177th overall) pick for Washington in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Klee broke in with the Caps in 1994-95 and went on to enjoy a 934-game NHL career, the first 570 of which came in a Washington sweater. Klee also coached the U.S. Women's National team to consecutive world championship titles in 2015 and 2016.

Toronto - Dale Derkatch is an amateur scout with the Maple Leafs. He held the same post with the Capitals for a number of years in the late 1990s and the early 2000s.

Blair Mackasey is a pro scout for Toronto. Back in 1975, the Caps expended a fourth-round pick (55th overall) in the NHL Amateur Draft that summer to bring Mackasey into the Washington organization. He never suited up for the Caps, and his NHL career consisted of one game with the Leafs in 1976-77.

Vancouver - Doug Jarvis is an assistant coach for the Canucks, the fourth organization for which he has worked in more than 30 years as a coach in the NHL and AHL. Jarvis' lengthy coaching career followed an excellent playing career, during which he established the league's all-time iron man record by playing in 964 consecutive games. Jarvis came to the Caps in a landmark blockbuster deal with Montreal on Sept. 9, 1982, a deal that also delivered Rod Langway, Craig Laughlin and Brian Engblom to the District. Jarvis played three full seasons with the Caps and part of another before he was traded to Hartford in 1985.

Nolan Baumgartner is also a Vancouver assistant coach. He was the Caps' first-round choice (10th overall) in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Baumgartner played professionally from 1996-2012, but logged only 143 NHL games over parts of 10 seasons with six different clubs. He played 18 games in parts of four seasons with the Capitals, and got into one playoff game as a 20-year-old with Washington in 1996.

Scott Walker is director of player development for the Canucks. Walker logged 829 games over a 15-year NHL playing career, and he made his final NHL stop in Washington. Late in the 2009-10 season, the Caps obtained Walker from Carolina for a seventh-round pick, and he skated in his last nine NHL games with Washington that spring, getting into one playoff game as well.

Vegas - George McPhee served as the Golden Knights' GM for each of their first two seasons in the league before being bumped to president of hockey operations earlier this spring. McPhee spent 17 seasons as Washington's GM, serving in that post from 1997-2014.

Dave Prior is Vegas' director of goaltending/goaltending coach, and one of the game's most revered goaltending minds. He was Washington's goaltending coach for most of the seasons from 1997-2014.

Vojtech Kucera is Vegas' director of European scouting. The brother of ex-Caps defenseman Frantisek Kucera, Vojtech was a European scout with the Caps for more than a decade before joining McPhee in the desert.

Wil Nichol is the Golden Knights' director of player development. Nichol spent several seasons as an amateur scout with Washington before getting in on the ground floor of the Vegas operation.

Winnipeg - Todd Woodcroft is an assistant coach with the Jets. Woodcroft was Washington's video coach in 2005-06, and he also served the Caps' organization as a scout after that season.

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