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Cassidy's Sundance Kids
Glen Hanlon and Randy Carlyle join the Capitals

When the Washington Capitals announced that 37-year-old Bruce Cassidy would take over as the 12th head coach in the team's history, some media types wondered aloud how the club would respond to a man whose own NHL career consisted of just 36 games.

Those questions should be quelled with the announcement of the hiring of Cassidy's assistants.

Between them, new Capitals assistant coaches Glen Hanlon and Randy Carlyle bring a total of 31 years of NHL playing experience and many more years of experience as assistant and head coaches at the professional level.

Glen Hanlon

Thought to be one of the prime candidates to replace the departed Ron Wilson behind the Washington bench, Hanlon has spent the past three seasons as the head coach of Washington's AHL affiliate in Portland, ME. In his first season at the Portland helm, Hanlon piloted the Pirates to a 46-23-10-1 mark, earning the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL's Coach of the Year. In his three seasons behind the Pirates' bench, Hanlon compiled a record of 110-101-29 (.519).

Prior to his position in Portland, Hanlon served as both a goaltending coach and an assistant coach for the Vancouver Canucks from 1991-99. He served under five different head coaches over that period of time.

Hanlon's NHL playing career also began with the Canucks in 1977-78. A goaltender, he manned the pipes for 477 games with Vancouver, the Rangers, St. Louis and Detroit in a 14-year NHL career.

Hanlon played his junior hockey for his hometown team, the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League. He was a WHL all-star in his last two seasons with the Wheat Kings and led the circuit with a 3.09 goals against average in 1976-77. The Canucks drafted Hanlon in the third round (40th overall pick) in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft. He was also chosen by the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association (fourth round, 30th overall pick).

Glen Hanlon circa 1984

Hanlon holds the dubious distinction of having surrendered Wayne Gretzky's first NHL goal. That tally came late in a 4-4 tie between the Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 14, 1979. Hanlon later admitted, "I created a monster."

Known as a fiery and competitive player during his playing days, Hanlon had the misfortune of backstopping a series of also-rans in the league. The Canucks were a sub-.500 team throughout Hanlon's tenure in Vancouver and the Blues were on the verge of bankruptcy both on and off the ice when Hanlon was there. Hanlon was traded to the Rangers in 1982-83, where he was a teammate of current Capitals general manager George McPhee. Hanlon enjoyed one of his best seasons with New York in 1983-84, posting a 28-14-4 mark with a 3.51 GAA. Dealt to Detroit for the start of the 1986-87 season, Hanlon helped the once hapless Red Wings rebound to respectability. The Wings went from 40 to 78 points in Hanlon's first season with the club. He enjoyed a stellar postseason that year, posting a 1.67 GAA and leading the league with two playoff shutouts. The following season, Hanlon led the NHL with four shutouts and went 22-17-5 as the Red Wings' renaissance continued.

Carlyle has accumulated six seasons worth of experience in a variety of posts

Randy Carlyle

with the AHL's Manitoba Moose. Carlyle was originally the assistant GM and assistant coach of the Moose before taking over the head coaching duties late in the club's inaugural season (the team was originally in the now defunct International Hockey League) of 1996-97. Carlyle posted a 178-133-49 record as the Manitoba bench boss.

Carlyle was named the IHL's General Manager of the Year in 1988-99 and was twice named to coach in the league's all-star game. He took over as the Moose's team president last season.

Like Hanlon, Carlyle was also drafted by both the NHL and the WHA. The Toronto Maple Leafs selected him with their second round pick (30th overall) in the 1976 NHL Amateur Draft and the WHA's Cincinnati Stingers used their first round pick (seventh overall) to take Carlyle in 1976.

Also like Hanlon, Carlyle played his junior hockey for his hometown team, the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League. With the Wolves, Carlyle was a teammate of former Capitals Jim Bedard and Wes Jarvis. Dale Hunter's older brother Dave also played for the Wolves during Carlyle's days there.

A defenseman, Carlyle began his NHL career with the Leafs during the 1976-77 season. Toronto had both Borje Salming and Ian Turnbull on the backline in those days and Carlyle was deemed expendable. On June 14, 1978, Carlyle was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins along with center George Ferguson in exchange for backliner Dave Burrows. The deal turned out to be a very good one for the Penguins.

Randy Carlyle 1984-93

Carlyle flourished in Pittsburgh, leading all Pens' defensemen with 13 goals and 47 points in his first season with the club. Gifted with the puck, he was always a very strong player in his own end and a leader both on and off the ice. Carlyle had his best NHL season in 1980-81 when he tallied 16 goals and 83 points. His efforts earned him the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman and a First All-Star Team berth.

He took over as the team's captain the following season and served in that role until he was dealt to the Winnipeg Jets for a first round draft choice on March 5, 1984. With Winnipeg, Carlyle continued his steady and reliable play at both ends of the ice and was a cornerstone player for the Jets throughout the 1980s. He also served a stint as Winnipeg's captain before his NHL career came to a close after the 1992-93 season.

Carlyle appeared in 1055 NHL games, totaling 148 goals, 647 points and 1400 penalty minutes.

With the addition of Hanlon and Carlyle to the fold, Washington's bench braintrust is complete. Goaltending coach Dave Prior will continue in his role as will venerable strength and conditioning coach Frank Costello.