NHL

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Oates lures Grabovski to Caps with talk of many goals and assists

  • Print

WHEN Adam Oates met with Mikhail Grabovski, the Washington Capitals coach turned into a hassle-free salesman.

"I said to him, 'You should look around,"' said Oates. "'For example, like Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh's a team that obviously likes to score. Well, you like to score, so that would be a team that maybe you would consider if they had room."'

Oates wasn't trying to talk Grabovski into joining the Penguins, his team's biggest rival. Instead, he was trying to explain why he thought the Capitals were the best fit for the 29-year-old centre who was bought out of his previous contract by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Hall of Famer with just one season of head-coaching experience came off as a seasoned veteran. Oates stayed away from specifics, not promising Grabovski any defined role or amount of ice time, instead focusing on the "puzzle" and the benefits of signing with a playoff team featuring reigning MVP Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and others.

"I said, 'You want to go to a team that likes to score, you want to go to a team where you fit in,"' Oates said. "I said, 'The reason I'm here talking to you is because I think we're one of the teams that you should consider."'

Oates' "enthusiasm" was enough to convince Grabovski to sign with the Capitals on a US$3-million, one-year deal, agent Gary Greenstin said. Asked what it was Oates told him that made up his mind, the Belarusian said it was "everything."

It wasn't a "hard sell" according to Oates, who was for the first time making the primary pitch to a highly sought-after free agent. And it wasn't just about the quality of the team and the lure of likely top-six minutes.

Oates pointed to centre Mike Ribeiro, who was a point-a-game performer and a power-play specialist during his lone season in Washington. Ribeiro went from two goals and 13 assists on the power play during his final season in Dallas, when the Stars were ranked last in the league, to six and 21 for the No. 1-ranked unit in the league with the Capitals.

"For a guy who points matter and that helps your juices flow and your game flow, 20, 30 points is a lot. And that's in a 48-game season, so who knows how many that can turn into during an 82-game season?" Oates said. "I said, 'You know Mike. I don't think Mike changed. I think certain variables allowed some of his skills to come out more.' "

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 25, 2013 B7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Rumor's 30th Anniversary with Mike Wilmot, Darryl Lenox, Dave Hemstad & Derek Edwards

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two Canada geese fly Wednesday afternoon at Oak Hammock Marsh- Front bird is banded for identification- Goose Challenge Day 3- - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Korea Veterans Association stained glass window at Deer Lodge Centre. Dedication with Minister of Veterans Affairs Dr. Rey Pagtakhan. March 12, 2003.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who has been the Jets best defenceman so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google