Capitals hire Mitch Love as assistant coach

The Washington Capitals on Thursday hired Mitch Love as an assistant coach to Spencer Carbery’s staff, bringing a highly respected young coach to join 41-year-old Carbery, who is the NHL’s youngest head coach.

Love, 39, coached Calgary’s AHL affiliate for the past two seasons and went on to win AHL Coach of the Year honors while leading his team to a regular-season record of 96-33-12 in both seasons.

After Calgary fired Darryl Sutter in May, Love was considered a candidate for the NHL coaching job, but the Flames hired Ryan Huska instead. Love reportedly discussed staying in Calgary as an assistant to Huska’s staff.

Carbery’s first interview with Love lasted about 30 minutes. The paths of the two coaches had occasionally crossed in recent years, so the first conversation served primarily to exchange ideas between the two. But a few days later, Love and Carbery chatted for two hours on a Zoom call.

Spencer Carbery has never played in the NHL, but as a coach he belongs

Prior to his time with the Calgary AHL team, Love was the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League and was the assistant coach of the Canada Junior World Team in 2020 and 2021.

This season, the Capitals have been looking for assistant coaches to replace Kevin McCarthy and Blaine Forsythe, who left the organization after Washington and Peter Laviolette parted ways in April. The Capitals retained assistant coach Scott Allen, who works primarily with the forwards and penalty shootouts, and goaltending coach Scott Murray.

Love is expected to primarily work with the defenders. As a player, Love was a defender and spent six years in the minor leagues. After more than 100 fights, he earned a well-deserved reputation as an enforcer.

Love and Carbery are yet to discuss the details of Carbery’s vision for defense but Love gave an overview of his approach as a coach.

“It’s just good details and good habits,” Love said. “Good stick-on-puck positioning. We use our feet and our body to not allow side chances at our net. We efficiently move pucks from our end of the ice. There are different possibilities for this. Every player has different strengths and areas they want to continue working on.

“We’ve got some young defenders on one side and some experienced players on the other, so I’m just really looking forward to getting to work and getting to know the group of defenders I’ll be working with and of course them .” Rest of the players and staff. I think over time that will naturally crystallize how we want to play on our side of the ice.” Capitals hire Mitch Love as assistant coach

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