Monday, May 14, 2012

Big Loss for Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals received a big blow on Monday when Head Coach Dale Hunter informed the team that he wouldn't be returning for another season. Hunter replaced former Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau in November and Under Hunter's leadership the team went 30-23-7 and made it into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Signed Dale Hunter Photo - 16x20
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Hunter left the Capitals to return to his family. He will be return as coach of the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), where he coached prior to leaving for Washington. Hunter was very successful as the team's coach. What I liked about Hunter as the coach for the capitals is that he did things his way and was successful because of it.

He had a defensive philosophy and that helped the Capitals eliminate the Boston Bruins in the first round and pushed the New York rangers to the brink of elimination by forcing a seven game series. Hunter also limited Alex Ovechkin's playing time, when the player wasn't fitting into his game plan.

It seems as if Hunter's players bought into his system. I really think that the Capitals went as far as they did because of Hunter. I was expecting the Capitals to be done in five to six games of the first round. Defeating the 2011 Stanley Cup Champions in the first round was a great accomplishment for the team.

Hunter's absence will be greatly missed. Now the Washington has to search for a new Head Coach and hope the team can build on the success it had in the second half of the 2011/2012 season. I thin that it's going to be very difficult to replace Dale Hunter. The guy definitely had command of his team and had a game plan that not only worked but was embraced by his players.

I give credit to Hunter for going with his heart and returning to his family. That resolve shows the same character that he displayed as a head coach for Washington. Hunter definitely strikes me as a man who has a lot conviction and marches to his own drummer and no one else's.

That's what's made him on of the most successful OHL coaches and the London Knights will be the beneficiary of a great coach and family man. Hunter's story gripped me, because I have to give credit to a man who walked away from the biggest hockey league int he world to be with his family.

I wish Hunter great success in the OHL and maybe one day in the future I will have the pleasure of seeing him behind the bench as a head coach in the NHL. How about being coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs? Toronto is only 119 miles from London Ontario.

We'll have to see if that happens. Hunter may not want to provide allegiance to another team. He played for Washington for 11 season (Out of a 19 year career) and he may not want to coach for another team. So his NHL coaching days may be behind him. I hope not.

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