The Washington Capitals have a void on both the bench and front office, and Capitals beat reporter thinks Tampa could help.
The Capitals announced today that coach Adam Oates, a former assistant coach for the Lightning, and general manager George McPhee will not return next season.
This immediately kicks off a search and the usual speculation. Katie Carrera believes Lightning assistant general manager Julien BriseBois might be a good candidate:
Julien BriseBois, assistant general manager, Tampa Bay Lightning
Age: 37 | Home town: Greenfield Park, Quebec
BriesBois has managed the salary cap and collective bargaining agreement details in three years with the Lightning while also serving as GM for the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals, who won the Calder Cup in 2012. Prior to joining Tampa Bay, he spent nine seasons in Montreal holding positions including director of legal affairs, director of hockey operations and GM of the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs.
His biggest strength is his legal background. Before he joined an NHL team, BriseBois represented NHL and MLB teams in arbitration hearings and helped reform the constitution of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
As Carrera notes, BriseBois helped oversee a championship team in the AHL plus you have to hand it to him that he was able to oversee a transition to Syracuse when the affiliation changed and managed to keep the lineup competitive despite the deluge of call-ups and injuries, but just missed the playoffs.
The Capitals are trying to hammer down another season in Hershey, the greatest minor league franchise and city around, but if fans in Chocolatetown are restless, there might have to be a change.
The legal background cannot be understated. It was one of McPhee’s strengths having a clear read on contract and CBA stipulations, rights and managed to take a legal advantage when he signed Michael Nylander a second tour, but he might not want to consider that a victory.
Another candidate with Tampa connections include BriseBois’ predecessor, Claude Loiselle. Loiselle’s contract was not renewed in 2009 by Brian Lawton.
Claude Loiselle, assistant general manager, Toronto Maple Leafs
Age: 50 | Home town: Ottawa
A hybrid candidate with the experience of 616 NHL games played and a law degree at his disposal, Loiselle has spent the past four seasons in Toronto and previously held the same post with Tampa Bay from 2005 to ’09. He’s the Leafs’ CBA expert and capologist and plays a significant role in contract negotiations and scouting as well.
Loiselle also worked with the league as associate director of hockey operations, which included arbitration hearings, discipline and collective bargaining. In an interview with the National Post three years ago, Loiselle made his aspirations clear: “I want to be a GM, I feel I’m going to be a GM.” The question is simply when and where.
Loiselle was also up for the Montreal post there, as well as BriseBois, but I don’t know enough about Loiselle to make a determination on him. What immediately comes to mind is that he was in a difficult situation in Tampa with the GM and owners fighting and calling the shots.
Likely, he would opt to go back to the man who hired him in Toronto, Brian Burke, and take the GM gig in Calgary.
I didn’t get excited over the list of names available for the GM spot. Two available names you don’t see on the list include Mike Gillis, former Canucks GM, and Jay Feaster, the former Calgary Flames GM who some believe was given too much credit for his role in the Lighting Stanley Cup victory. He, too, had a frustrating time with Oren Koules and Len Barrie, handing the reigns over the Lawton and Loiselle.
I have bit of a soft spot for Feaster given he was born in Harrisburg, Pa., not too far from my hometown in Hagerstown, Md., and got his start in Harrisburg’s most famous suburb, Hershey, where he did work for Hershey Entertainment before getting his first hockey job with the Bears. Given his relationship with Hershey and his legal background, Feaster would seem like a good fit on an emotional level.