Interesting idea to help familiarize Oates with the players.

Guess nothing can hurt at this point.

While the lockout has the NHL on hold indefinitely, the Capitals’ coaching staff won’t simply be waiting for a resolution to the labor stalemate. Instead, they’ll trade in their red gear for chocolate brown and ply their trade with the AHL’s Hershey Bears.

The Capitals announced Sunday that Adam Oates would serve as co-coach of the AHL club along with Hershey head coach Mark French during the lockout. It’s a move that will allow Oates, a first-time NHL head coach, time behind a bench while familiarizing himself with players throughout the organization.

“It was originally an idea from [Capitals General Manager] George [McPhee] that, to me, made a lot of sense,” Oates said Sunday after taking part in the first day of Bears training camp at Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. “To have an opportunity, given the collective bargaining agreement, to come down here and basically just continue the learning curve and be a co-coach with Frenchie here in Hershey and be a part of it. Obviously, some of our players are down here and to be a part of the organization that I just joined, I thought it made perfect sense.”