Photo: NHL via Getty Images
The ultimate success of any organization is directly related to the people who make up the organization, and hockey teams are no different. The number of people and hours that go into developing, preparing, and supporting a hockey team throughout the season is simply countless.
Besides the 22 players in the list of capitals and prospects of the 40-plus players in the capitals system, there are a head coach, five assistant coaches, four equipment managers, three coaches, and two strength and conditioning coaches who make up the audience front most elements of the capitals organization.
However, this is just scratching the surface, as there are many people behind the scenes. There are 11 people currently making up the “Hockey Operations” team, which includes the analytics and player development team, 15 people in the exploration department and countless other support staff involved in the day-to-day operations of Capitals. (More about all these wonderful people can be found here)
In the first of a series of publications that will focus on the structure of the Capitals organization and strive to provide more information about the team’s daily and annual operations, we bring you a one-on-one interview with Jim SlaterHe is part of the Hockey Operations team and is responsible for Forward Player Development.
From Washington Capitals Media Guide 2021-22
play a career
Jim Slater began his playing career with the NAHL’s Cleveland Barons in 1998, and spent four seasons with the Barons before attending college at Michigan State. A native of Petoskey, Michigan, Slater played four seasons with the Spartans, was assistant captain in his second season and captain for his last two seasons at East Lansing.
Slater, center, played 10 seasons in the NHL, from 2005 to 2015. He was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the first round (#30 overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and played six seasons in Atlanta before moving with the team to Winnipeg where he played for four other seasons. He scored 67 goals and 71 assists in 584 NHL games before concluding his football career in Europe, playing four seasons in the Swiss League.
Slater also played for the US national team U20 in 2001-02, the US national team in 2005-06, was assistant captain for the 2011-12 national team and played for the 2018 US Olympic team.
Go to training
It was during Slater’s sophomore year in Atlanta when coach Bob Hartley sat him down to talk, a discussion that will have a lasting impact on the rest of his National Hockey League career.
“He brought me into this room, and started telling me about it [upcoming Hockey Hall of Fame inductee] “Guy Carbono” remembers Slater. “How he was a top scorer in the Junior Hockey League in Quebec, and he changed his style to become a penalty shooter, frontman, and closing man. That really stuck with me. I knew I wasn’t going to be a star in the league, so I had to change my style of game to be effective.”
Slater began his career after playing as an assistant coach at Michigan State in 2019 and joined the Capitals as a “Development Coach” on September 20, 2019.
Capitals name Jim Slater for the Player Development Department
Slater will assist and work closely with the future prospects of the organization
Washington Capitals September 20, 2019
“I am looking forward to being a part of this,” Slater said in an interview with the NHLPA website in 2019. “I am excited to help the team and the awesome program.” “It’s a great place to learn about training and learning.” And see how it all works. The coaching staff has been a huge success, and this is a great opportunity for me to be a part of it.”
Slater’s official title with the capitals is “Forward Player Development” under the “Hockey Operations” section. He was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding his role with the capitals.
Question and Answer
1. How did your position with the capitals arise?
“Hockey is a small world. I had no affiliation with hats during my football career. When I retired I definitely wanted to stay in hockey, especially in player development.” Rob Tillotson, the guy I knew when I played in Atlanta and who is now head of team services for caps, put the word Good for me with Steve Richmond, Head of Caps Player Development. I met with Steve and General Manager Brian Maclellan and discussed my thoughts and opinions on development and this is what happened. I am very fortunate to be with such a great organization in Washington/Hershey, who values their players and their development.”
2. What are your roles and responsibilities with the capitals throughout the calendar year?
“Player development is a great role to play. You get a mix of a lot of different roles. First of all, it helps make the players better all around. It includes ice education at Hershey during the season and, as I like to say, a player advisor. Hopefully they’ll ask us questions not just about the ice but about the ice.Brooks (Orpik), Olie (Kolzig) and Steve, we’ve all had great jobs in the NHL and we’ve all had different paths to getting there as well as those expectations We try to help them in any way we can. We maintain an unbiased view of our players and our primary focus is on helping make them the best hockey player they can be Reach their potential We watch a lot of games on our horizons both in person and on video We run a summer development camp We do some Exploration. It’s a great combination I live to be a part of in every aspect. I wish I had the player development department when I played to take advantage of.”
3. Do you work with potential clients only, or with all the attackers in the capitals organization?
“We work with all of our signed and drafted prospects. I work with the forwards. Brooks works with D, Olie works with the goalkeepers and Steve does everything as head of department and he oversees everyone.”
4. What specific skills or aspects of the game are you working on?
“I don’t work specifically at one or two things. For me there is a lot of hockey. I really try to focus on the situational and transitional aspects of the game. I am a firm believer that the game starts at the wall and ends in front of the grid. Lots of details and responsibilities for each position as well.” My goal is to be as honest with a player as I can. I’m not a skills coach, he says. Everyone thinks skill coaches are coping skills, but I know what it takes to get into the NHL and stay in the NHL and those are the details and responsibilities throughout the game.”
5. Are you involved in scouting and drafting?
“No, we are not involved in scouting or recruiting preparation. We take charge after formulating our choices. Amateur scouts hand us the wand to take charge and we develop them into the best player we can.”
6. Will you be participating in a beginner camp and/or boot camp?
“Yes, we will participate in both.”
7. Any notable interactions with Alex Ovechkin? Niklas Backstrom?
“I remember taking one timer on PP from an Ovechkins stick in a game that broke my leg pillow. Backstrom and I played a lot against each other and you always had to play because if you weren’t, it could make you look like a pewhi player.”
8. Do you use any new technologies or use advanced analytics throughout the season?
“I’ve started cognitive training recently, both on and off the ice, and I love using these things called fire pods to help with that. If you have potential clients controlling the private development there and using the resources we provide, then you see a real development.”
I’d like to thank Jim for taking the time in his very busy schedule to answer a few questions, and to provide interesting insight into the Capitals organization.
Written by John Sorenson