By Ian Oland
The Washington Capitals’ coaching search will include one of its former captains.
The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun is reporting that the Capitals plan to interview Jeff Halpern for their open head coaching job.
Halpern, a Potomac, Maryland native, has been an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning under Jon Cooper since the 2018-19 season. He coaches the team’s forwards.
Hearing that the Washington Capitals plan to interview Lightning assistant Jeff Halpern at some point here in their head coach search process.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 3, 2023
The Capitals could officially request an interview with Halpern after the Lightning were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. They fell in six games to the Toronto Maple Leafs after John Tavares scored the series game-winner in overtime.
Halpern’s resume with the Lightning includes two Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021. The Lightning tried to three-peat in 2022 but lost to the Colorado Avalanche in six games.
Halpern first joined the Bolts as a player development coach in 2015 and was later hired as an assistant for their AHL squad, the Syracuse Crunch, in 2016. Halpern helped lead the Crunch to an 84-46 record over two seasons, guiding them to the Calder Cup Finals in 2017. Halpern was promoted to the NHL club in June 2018 where he’s been ever since.
“I like to be able to teach and, with the guys I’m working with, bring a level of energy and competitiveness and try to create an identity of that group,” Halpern said to NHL.com after being hired. “Once everything’s sorted out and you have your roles and your jobs and your players to work with, I think the biggest thing for me is to try to help create an identity within that team of the guys that I’m working with.”
Halpern played 976 games over 14 seasons in the NHL. Halpy had two separate stints as a player for the Capitals, appearing in 507 games and notching 220 points (91 goals, 129 assists). During the 2005-06 season, Alex Ovechkin’s first in the NHL, Halpern was named captain of the team.
The owner of Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken began his youth hockey career playing for the Little Capitals.
Halpern’s involvement in the Caps’ hiring process is the first news that has come out since Peter Laviolette departed last month.
Current Toronto Maple Leafs assistant Spencer Carbery was rumored to be in the running even before Laviolette left as a report from ESPN’s Emily Kaplan dropped in late March detailing the team’s interest in the former Hershey Bears head coach.
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