Adam Oates addresses accusations about skills development coaching
Adam Oates appears to have ruffled some feathers with his skills development.
The former coach and veteran of 1,337 NHL games has been employed by several NHLers - most notably the Minnesota Wild's Zach Parise and Ryan Suter - to help with their skills development, but has come under fire from skeptical league executives about his motives.
Oates was questioned about the accusations, the first being that it's just a ploy to get back into coaching, in Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman's "30 Thoughts."
"I presume my coaching days are over," Oates said.
"I understand that is an issue because I was a coach,” he said. "I’m not planning on coaching anymore. I enjoy working with players on their skills, making them better."
The second accusation, however, was a little more personal, the idea that some general managers would avoid acquiring a player employing Oates due to fears he's "poisoning" the relationship between players and teams.
"Not a chance, not a chance, not a chance," Oates said.
"That’s the first thing we talk about with the players, we are not going to talk about your system or how you play. We are going to talk about your game. We are going to talk about improving your skills. If you’re a face-off man and can’t win a draw, what’s the problem? If you need to get the puck off the boards faster, what’s the problem? That’s what I can help with."
Oates remains adamant that his goal is simply to improve players' skills, but admits - while citing one of his clients, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos - that he could be more transparent with NHL general managers.
"Steve Yzerman did ask me, 'What are (Stamkos and I) working on?'" Oates said. "He’s the only one so far. I could have done a better job of communicating with GMs and next time I will do that. I have no intention other than improving their players.
"Some drills don’t work for 30 guys, they need a private plan. I wouldn’t tell just anyone what I’m doing with a player, but I would tell a GM."
Oates is hopeful he can open an academy-type setting where players can come during the summer, which he feels will help ease the critics.
"Once we go through one summer of it, there will be no big deal," Oates said.
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