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Johannson, Hunter will be Oates' assistants

The Sports Xchange

The Capitals have reached back into their past in an attempt to lead them into the future.

Former Capitals captain and current head coach Adam Oates completed his coaching staff by hiring former teammate Calle Johansson to coach his defense and former Caps assistant Tim Hunter as his bench coach.

Johansson, 45, spent 15 seasons in Washington and played more games in a Capitals uniform (983) than anyone in franchise history before retiring in 2004.

Oates and Johansson were teammates in Washington from 1997 to 2002, and Oates said Johansson's knowledge of the game and strong communication skills makes him the perfect choice to lead the Capitals' young defense corps. Seven of the nine defensemen on the Caps' roster are 26 or younger.

"I'm not doing this just for my own sake, to become a head coach," Johansson said. "I'm doing this because I like the people around the organization, I like the players and I want to make them better."

Hunter, 51, never played for the Capitals, but he played 16 years in the NHL, participated in three Stanley Cup Finals, and won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989. The Capitals gave him his first job as an NHL assistant coach in 1997, and the following season he helped lead them to their first and only appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.

"You need experience on a coaching staff," said Hunter, who is no relation to former Caps coach Dale Hunter. "I talked to Adam early on, and he was looking for someone with experience and I definitely have that. I'm a career assistant coach and I'm looking forward to helping Adam and Calle become better coaches and the Caps become a better organization."

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