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: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 12:55 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

Sister Ray is a defeated embarrassed man, I mean give the guy a break, he has been saying wait till next year for 3 decades now.



Since: Apr 27, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

i know. i mean how can you respect a QB that likes to assault underage teenies at college bars?!?!?!

Sister Ray I see you still havent sought out help for your unhealthy obscession with everything Pittsburgh.
You probably tear up and get in the fetal position everytime you see the commercial with terrible towel being shown all over the world. Put the bottle down and seek real help or just come over to the dark side.



Since: Apr 21, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 12:46 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

Get over it Sister Ray... It always ends up here with you.  No one said rape is a game except you, no one said murder is a game either. Ray became a better citizen after his legal troubles too.  I am glad to see both men matured and learned from their stupid mistakes. I am not defending either mans actions I am saying the court of public opinion does not trump the actual court system in this country and both men have been cleared of most of the aligations. One went to trial and one didn't, but both made stupid decisions to put themselves in that position.  MOVE ON..


take yourself seriously enough? 


i wish Pig Pen Ben would tilt dat hat sideways and chuck the duce to all that trash up in Baltimore Jr!


Yeh-Ehhh-YEAH-YA!  



Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: November 28, 2011 12:39 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

Get over it Sister Ray... It always ends up here with you.  No one said rape is a game except you, no one said murder is a game either. Ray became a better citizen after his legal troubles too.  I am glad to see both men matured and learned from their stupid mistakes. I am not defending either mans actions I am saying the court of public opinion does not trump the actual court system in this country and both men have been cleared of most of the aligations. One went to trial and one didn't, but both made stupid decisions to put themselves in that position.  MOVE ON...



Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 28, 2011 12:37 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

It looks obvious that any coach, including Hunter now, will have much leeway to get both Ovey and Semin in line, in a basic "team" concept. Until that gets fixed, that team is going nowhere in its quest top win the Cup. Kneejerk management in Washington needs to "grow some" and sit both for a game or two. If not, they should return to Russia and play in that league for a season, and then truly appreciate what they have now........................



Since: Jun 8, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 12:37 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

Fantasy owners of Ovechkin rejoice! This defense first concept works very well with some teams - not this one. As many have already stated, Ovie needs to get back to being Ovie for this team to be successful. The rest of the pieces are in place for a deep run - solid goaltending, good D, good supporting cast. Should be fun to watch (again...finally).
 



Since: Apr 26, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2011 12:32 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter


QB rape is not a game, son.  grow up!

You, sir, are a moron. He was never charged.



Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: November 28, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

They should have hired a surgeon to put a heart in the Great 8's chest.  If it don't go his way he pouts and quits.  Semin gets blasted all of the time but Alex is not different.  They both are yellow bellied rats that do not subscribe to the team concept. What a loser for a captain, that is the first thing Hunter needs to change.



Since: Apr 26, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

Hate to say it, but the Caps made the right move. Boudreau lost the locker room, once you do that, it's over. Better to make the move now then to die a slow death.

Hopefully now Ovie will get back to playing his game, scoring, you don't ask Kevin Durant to play defense.



Since: Apr 21, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Capitals fire Boudreau, bring in Dale Hunter

I know. Considering how he was charged.....right?



look, we all know that Pig Pen Emenim Ben just got married to take heat off the rape case train. 




Better than Ray Lewis and his homicide.


he was merely asking the gentleman if he wanted a drink from Ray's wine bottle. 


 

See, I can play that game too.




QB rape is not a game, son.  grow up!


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