Blog Entry

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

Posted on: November 28, 2011 8:44 am
Edited on: November 28, 2011 6:17 pm
 
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By Brian Stubits

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals announced on Monday morning that they have fired head coach Bruce Boudreau and named former player Dale Hunter to be his replacement.

Hunter will make his debut as the Caps' new boss on Tuesday night in Washington against the St. Louis Blues.

The rumor mill picked up late Sunday night when Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet reported that he was hearing rumblings Boudreau could be out as coach in 24-48 hours. He had it wrong. Apparently it was more like 12 hours.

"The reason for the change was we weren't winning, obviously," general manager George McPhee said. "This wasn't a slump. You can ride out slumps. This was simply a case of the players were no longer responding to Bruce. When you see that, as muc as you don't want to make a change you have to make a change.

"Bruce did a terrific job here, we're very proud of him, very proud of the work he did for us. But when the players aren't responding, you have to make a change."

Can you view the Boudreau, then, as a failure?

More NHL Coaching Changes

"I don't view this as a negative or a failure at all," McPhee said. "I think Bruce came in and did a great job, but his time was up."

Boudreau took over as the Capitals coach during the 2007-08 season, replacing Glen Hanlon, and in parts of five seasons behind the team's bench compiled an impressive 201-88-40 regular season record. The team qualified for the postseason in each of the previous four seasons but struggled to have the regular season success carry over to the playoffs, never advancing beyond the second round of the playoffs, and twice exiting in the first round. That includes the 2009-10 season when they won the Presidents Trophy with the best record in the NHL and were dismissed by the No. 8 seed Montreal Canadiens in seven games.

Replacing him will be the 51-year-old Hunter who has spent the past decade coaching the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League and leading them to the Memorial Cup championship during the 2004-05 season. He owns the highest career winning percentage of any coach in the OHL's history.

Hunter, of course, also played for the Capitals between 1987 and 1999 during a career that saw him score 323 goals and compile over 3,500 penalty minutes in 1,407 regular season games. Along with the Capitals, he also spent time with the Quebec Nordiques and Colorado Avalanche.

"This has been my team ... I shouldn't say my team, it's Ted's [Leonsis] team but it feels like my team because I played here for so long and I have good memories here," Hunter said at his meet the media session after Monday's team practice here at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. "I taped every game for the last how many years?"

Asked what Hunter will bring as a coach, McPhee talked about the pedigree Hunter has.

"Hopefully [he brings] the same things that he brought as a player," McPhee said. "Obvioulsy Dale was an intelligent player, he had talent and he was tough, downright mean at times. We probably won't see a player like that again for a while. You don't see numbers like the numbers he's had. But he played 19 years in this league and I think the best thing you could ever say Dale Hunter was whether the game was home or away or he was injured or healthy or we were winning or losing, that guy played the same every night. And it was hard. So he had really a great NHL career over 19 years, played a heck of a lot of playoff games."

As for his jump from the OHL to the NHL? McPhee isn't worried.

"No one's been better at that level. In that Ontario Hockey League that's been around forever, he has the best winning percentage of all time. It's not a flash in the pan; one or two or three years. It's 11 years. He's turned that franchise into the best junior franchise going."

Hunter, the only player in NHL history to have 300 goals and 3,000 penalty minutes in his career, will bring his style back to Washington, a city where he is remembered fondly as one of only four retired jerseys in the rafters.

"We're going to be a hard team to play against," Hunter said. "We're going to be on the puck hard, forecheck hard, really responsible defensively, backside pressure coming back through the neutral zone so teams can't run-and-gun on ya."

Asked if his team will play the way Hunter did, he didn't exactly say yes.

"Too many referees out there now!" Hunter said, drawing a laugh from the massive media contingent. "There's an extra referee out there now."

One of the big concerns, then, is getting this team to respond. If Boudreau lost the team's ear, how can he expect to get it back? How will his approach differ from that of Boudreau?

"Every coach coaches differently," Hunter said. Sometimes the players hear your voice everyday and sometimes the players don't execute as well as they should.

"I'm a player's coach, but also the players will know when I'm mad at them. I'm stern on them, that's the way you have to be to win game. Mistakes ... everybody makes mistakes out there, but if he continues making mistakes than there will be repurcussions."

That sounds a bit like the accountability mantra Boudreau was preaching this season. One difference though is that Hunter will start with that attitude. It's much easier for players to accept it when you are always more stern than somebody like Boudreau who was a bit more of a player's coach who tried to turn into a demanding coach in the offseason. That's a difficult change to make.

This is already the second in-season coaching change of the NHL season, as the Blues, Washington's opponent on Tuesday night, replaced Davis Payne with Ken Hitchcock earlier this month.

The Capitals opened the season on a 7-0 record and the best record in the NHL, but have followed that up with a 5-9-1 run and have struggled the most over the past two weeks, getting blown out by Buffalo, New York and Toronto, while also dropping games to Nashville and Winnipeg.

Adam Gretz contributed to this report

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Comments

Since: Aug 27, 2010
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:33 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

like a retarded circus monkey
They eat their own poo, just like sissy sis Ray.

Way to go Caps, hire the biggest cheapshot artist of all-time. Like I said, everyone beware of their knees coming from a streaking Over8ed.



Since: Sep 24, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:29 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

Well, the biggest whiner of a coach is gone from the league.
but the biggest whining owner in Super Mario is still around so you'll still have plenty of tears to wallow in.

Great move by the Caps. BB had lost control in my opinion. His new accountability policy did not go over well and it came in way too late. Hunter will bring a tough guy in to handle a bunch of babies and return them to their winning ways. First thing he should do is take the C from Ovie and give it to a true leader in the locker room. Somone who can ignite a fire on the ice.

Next comes...I mean goes Semin. The guy plays when he wants so I'm sure Hunter will either get his ear of some other team will get his ass.

Very soon the Caps will again be back on top of the division. 



Since: Apr 27, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:28 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

says the guy(s) constantly on Caps blogs and boards

Sorry charley or charlotte whichever, I dont think Ive ever been on the Caps board unless its a headline blog. To show Im not a hater Id like to send you a terrible towel for xmas to wipe your tears every time you hear anything about Pittsburgh.

why? it's gay

just come out of the closet already and admit you wish it were you in that bathroom



Since: Feb 3, 2011
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

Sister, you're so dumb I kinda feel sorry for you.

Oh, and by the way, do you think you can make your posts with a few less spaces in them? You don't need to keep hitting the return key like a retarded circus monkey. But, then again, you're a Craps fan so maybe you do. You just go ahead and do whatever makes you happy, mmmkay? There, there....



Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:26 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

wtf does crosby have to do with BB getting fired or the Caps bringing in one of the leagues biggest cheap shot artist of all time?  SR, give it up with your obsession of all things Pittsburgh, we know you are jealous of our success.



Since: Sep 7, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:15 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

thanks for the u-tube link i somewhat forgot how chippy dale hunter was ! 



Since: Apr 21, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

Now he is replaced by one of the biggest cheap shot artists in league history with one of the worst cheap shots of all-time (an unthinkable boarding well after a goal was scored during the playoffs to an elite player resulting in a separated shoulder):


looked clean to me.




A revolving door of clowns in Washington...



racist. please don't talk about Obama like that. you hate monger. 




biggest whiner of a coach is gone from the league.



you guys don't like whiners? that is odd!  


 



Since: Feb 3, 2011
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

Well, the biggest whiner of a coach is gone from the league. I won't miss him, but I think I'll get nostalgic when I think about his head "rocking the red" in response to what he deemed to be a bad call or non-call.

Now he is replaced by one of the biggest cheap shot artists in league history with one of the worst cheap shots of all-time (an unthinkable boarding well after a goal was scored during the playoffs to an elite player resulting in a separated shoulder):



A revolving door of clowns in Washington...



Since: Apr 21, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:04 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

Sister Ray is a defeated embarrassed man



i make too much money to care that much. 



Since: Apr 21, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:01 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

Sister Ray I see you still havent sought out help for your unhealthy obscession with everything Pittsburgh.




says the guy(s) constantly on Caps blogs and boards with all their witty wisdom a flowing. 


how funny!  




You probably tear up and get in the fetal position everytime you see the commercial with terrible towel being shown all over the world.



why? it's gay. it's a towel. Ben uses it to clean up his DNA post-rape. 




Put the bottle down and seek real help or just come over to the dark side.



Pig Pen Ben is for sure on the "dark side". him and his hero Emenim.  


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