The Capitals announced today that they have brought in Kevin McCarthy as an assistant coach. McCarthy has been a staple of Peter Laviolette’s coaching staff, getting his NHL start as an assistant for the Hurricanes from 1999 to 2009, then joining Laviolette in Philadelphia and Nashville.
McCarthy began his coaching career with the Hershey Bears (then the AHL affiliate of the Flyers). His reputation for leadership and work with younger players led the club to promote him to a player-assistant coach role for his final year as a player, and served first as an assistant and then head coach after his retirement.
Per the Caps, McCarthy is - for now - the only change among the assistant coaches, taking over for Reid Cashman as the team’s defense coach.
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ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have named Kevin McCarthy as an assistant coach, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. McCarthy, who will primarily work with the Capitals’ defensemen, will join assistant coaches Scott Arniel, Blaine Forsythe and goaltending coach Scott Murray on head coach Peter Laviolette’s staff.
“Kevin has had a tremendous impact on my coaching career, and I’m extremely excited to have him join our coaching staff in Washington,” said Laviolette. “Kevin is a high character individual who has an incredible amount of NHL experience and works relentlessly to make players better. We feel he will be a great addition to our team.
“I also had an opportunity to meet with Scott Arniel, Blaine Forsythe and Scott Murray, and I’m pleased to have them return to our staff. They are all successful coaches, bring a significant amount of experience and recognize the attention to detail that creates the foundation for a successful team.”
McCarthy, 63, joins Washington after spending the previous six seasons with the Nashville Predators, the first three as an assistant coach and the last three as an associate coach. The Winnipeg native brings more than 30 years of professional coaching experience, which includes assistant positions with the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes, the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville. McCarthy has coached three separate teams to the Stanley Cup Final (Carolina in 2002 and 2006, Philadelphia in 2010 and Nashville in 2017), winning in 2006 with Carolina. In addition to his NHL coaching experience, McCarthy served as Philadelphia’s director of player development from 1990 to 1992. McCarthy also has compiled a record of 186-153-47-14 in five seasons as a head coach in the American Hockey League, which includes the Hershey Bears (1989-90), the Springfield Falcons (1995-97) and the New Haven Beast (1997-99).
Prior to joining the coaching ranks, McCarthy appeared in 527 NHL games with Philadelphia (1977-79; 1985-87), the Vancouver Canucks (1978-84), and the Pittsburgh Penguins (1983-85), registering 258 points (67g, 191a) in 10 seasons. He was the captain of Vancouver from 1979-82 and was named a starter in the 1981 NHL All-Star Game. McCarthy was originally selected by Philadelphia in the first round, 17th overall, in the 1977 Amateur Draft. McCarthy and his wife, Rhonda, have three daughters: Melissa, Meaghan and Mallory, and three grandchildren: Cannon, Pryce and Chase.
Arniel, 58, is returning to the Capitals for his third season, continuing to work with the Capitals’ penalty kill. Arniel has more than 18 years of professional coaching experience, which includes serving as head coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2010-12. Under Arniel’s guidance, the Capitals penalty kill ranked sixth in the NHL in 2019-20 (82.6 percent), improving by 3.7 percent from 2018-19.
Forsythe, 44, returns for his 15th season with Washington and 12th as assistant coach and will continue to work with the Capitals’ power play. Over the last six seasons, the Capitals have converted on 22.2% of their power play opportunities to rank second in the NHL during that span.
Murray, 40, returns for his fourth season as the Capitals’ goaltending coach. Over the last three seasons, Capitals goaltenders have combined to record the third most wins (138) in the NHL. During the 2019-20 season, Murray worked with Braden Holtby and Ilya Samsonov. Holtby ranked eighth in the NHL in wins (25) and was named to the NHL All-Star Game for the fifth straight season. Samsonov posted a 16-6-2 record with a 2.55 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage and ranked second among NHL rookie goaltenders in wins.