Langway and Laughlin on Oates

Posted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel

Former Capitals defenseman Rod Langway and ex-Capitals forward Craig Laughlin did not cross paths with Hockey Hall of Famer Adam Oates during their careers here in Washington. But both men did play against Oates – and Laughlin served as color analyst for hundreds of Oates’ games – and we recently had a chance to ask them about the experience. “He was one of those smart players,” says Langway of Oates. “He knew when to pass the puck, when to keep the puck, when to wait for certain players to get in the open. It seemed like every time I played against him he had me coming where I should be staying and he would get the puck just over my stick, similar to what [Wayne] Gretzky did against me. Where, if you go too aggressive he’s got you and then if you wait, his teammates can go and find an open hole. “That’s where he created three 50-goal scorers by passing the puck, but he played both ways, though. He was a stocky little guy. He was one of those guys that could turn and protect the puck, and the only thing you could do was crosscheck him in the back, hopefully so he’d make a bad pass and make him pay for being where he was. He was a gentleman with sportsmanship on the ice. He wasn’t nasty with his stick. He didn’t deal with that stuff, but he went through you, hit you, and you knew that he was trying to score goals, that’s for sure.” Laughlin, like many observers, took note of the odd shape of Oates’ stick. “He was doing it with sort of, I call it a croquet stick rather than a hockey stick,” says Laughlin. “It was a [short blade], and of course he was a wood worker; he’d have to chisel it down. And he could pass, he could shoot and all that stuff. The thing that separates Adam from everybody, that makes him Hall of Fame class in this year, is between his ears. It’s the smarts, that old Gretzky adage, ‘Go where the puck’s going to be, not where it’s is.’ That was his game. “He knew the game whether it was through geometry, through knowledge, through watching the game growing up in Toronto and watching so much hockey that the puck not only gravitated to him, he would know where that puck was going to be. Whether it deflects off a goaltender’s toe, he knew where it was. On the power play, he knew how penalty killers were going to be set up, and he knew where he could fire a seam pass right onto a stick. I think that separates Adam from most centers in the NHL.”

next up:

Oates and Staff Head Back to D.C.

January 14, 2013

Late in September the Capitals announced that coach Adam Oates and his Washington coaching staff would be assigned to Hershey of the AHL. No time frame was placed on that assignment; the idea was to have Oates and his staff work with Hershey bench boss Mark French, his assistant coach Troy Mann and

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