Capitals Add Fire in Belly With Hunter

November 28, 2011 | Marty Mossa

Dale Hunter was probably the best two way player in NHL history. He was one of the dirtiest players round, yet he could score a goal when you needed it. He played 19 NHL seasons, 1407 games, scored 323 goals with 697 assists for 1020 points. Hunter also spent 3565 minutes in the penalty box. That’s 59 hours and 25 minutes (almost 2 ½ days) in the “sin” bin. (Wikipedia) And now Dale Hunter is the new coach of the Washington Capitals. Hunter becomes the 15th coach in Washington Capital’s history. He takes over for Bruce Boudreau whose 7-0 start to the season ended his tenure with the team going 3-7-1 in their last eleven games.

Hunter replaces Bruce Boudreau as Cap’s coach. Boudreau was with the Caps for 4 ½ seasons. He compiled a 201-88-40 (442 points) record. In the four complete seasons he guided D.C., the team won four straight South Eastern Division Titles. The Capitals were the Atlantic Conference’s number one seed in the 2009-2010 & 2010-2011 NHL seasons. They won their only “Presidents” Cup for the league’s best record during the 2009-2010 season. (Wikipedia)

The problem for Boudreau and his predecessors is the fact that the Capitals have a knack for choking in the playoffs. The Caps lost to the Flyers in seven during the first round in 2008. They made it to the second round only to blow a 2-0 lead and lose in seven to Pittsburgh in the second round in 2009. They became the first team in NHL history to win the President’s Cup and lose in the first round (blowing a 3-1 lead to Montreal). And last year after finishing off the Rangers in five, the lost 0-4 to Tamp Bay in the second round. Boudreau’s playoff coaching record with the Caps was 17-20.

In the clubs’37 year history, the Caps have made the playoffs 22 times. They however have a propensity for falling apart when spring rolls around. The Caps have only made it past the second round of the playoffs twice. They lost in the ocnference finals in 1990 to Boston 4-0. In 1998 they lost to the Detroit Redwings 4-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals.

I wish Dale Hunter all the best. I won’t be impressed with another South Eastern Division Title, or number one seed in the conference. I won’t even be impressed with another President’s Cup. If they are still playing hockey when Jim Nabors is singing ‘Back Home Again’ at the Indy 500 on May 25, 2012, then I’ll be impressed. Other than that, it’s a waste of time