What’s the first thing I see when I look at my phone this morning? A text from Dad: Bruce out. Hunter in. Immediately I ran to my computer to see if it was really true. Now, I am a big Boudreau fan, actually a huge Boudreau fan. The way he led the Caps on the ‘Cinderella run’ in 07-08 is something that sticks out to me particularly.
It strikes me as a little odd, considering Saturday night I was home watching the game with my dad and he said, “If they lose this game, I bet Bruce is fired.” Of course that immediately sparked a conversation about who would replace him. Dad voted for Dave Tippet (he’s always liked him) but seeing as he’s currently behind the bench in Phoenix, we came to the consensus that Hunter was one of the few options. (Considering we were just grumpy fans sitting at home grumbling, imagine my surprise when I saw the headlines this morning).
So let’s get down to the news.
Dale Hunter, former NHLer and longtime Washington Capital, replaced Bruce Boudreau as the head honcho for the Caps. Hunter spent 19 seasons in the NHL, 12 were spent with Washington. He is the 15th head coach in Washington’s team history. He will make his debut tomorrow as the Caps host the Blues.
Hunter captained the capitals for five seasons (‘94-’95 to ’98-’99). He is known for a number of things including his work ethic and no-nonsense attitude, but he is most famous for his accumulation of penalty minutes. By the end of his career Hunter tallied 2,003 PIM, the most in Caps history. He is the only player in NHL history to record both 1,000 games and 3, 000 PIM. In addition to holding several capitals records, Hunter is one of the few players in capitals history to have his no. 32 retired.
Hunter, 51, has spent the last 11 years behind the bench for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. His team won the Memorial Championship in ’04-’05, and he holds the record for getting to 300 and 400 wins the fastest.
This is the second time that the Caps have brought a junior coach from their system to the big league. We’ll see how Hunter does from here on out, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the team will be giving him 110% in no time.
Just in closing, I'd like to say farewell Bruce. You saved our team when it was crumbling around Glen Hanlon. You didn't win us a cup, but I think people should remember you fondly, I know that that this particular caps fan will.