RADIO – Not only has there been news in sports like the Green Bay Packers losing their first game of the season, and the Colts actually winning, but there has also been news in the sports world around the NHL. The Washington Capitals have fired their head coach Bruce Boudreau and hired former Junior Hockey head coach Dale Hunter.
Dave Zirin for The Edge of Sports talks with the editor of Puck Daddy for Yahoo Sports, Greg Wyshynski, about the epic firing and hiring the Capitals have decided during this year’s NHL season.
The Capitals flew out of the gate this season starting 7-0 and showing the NHL that they were a team to be considered for the Stanley Cup, but this did not last as long as they would hope.
“They were blowing leads, they were taking bad penalties, you weren’t getting the same offensive performances from players like Ovechkin, there were lingering problems,” Wychynski said. “And then the winning stopped, the problems increased, and by the end of his ten years at DC, the Washington Capitals have simply stopped playing for Bruce Boudreau.”
So far this season, the Capitals are the only team in the top eight of the Eastern Conference right now to have a sub-.500 record. The team’s owner believes that this firing should have come in the off season, but with the addition of Dale Hunter, he is confident that he will be able to lead this team of amazing stars back to winning this season.
“He (Hunter) has long been considered one of the stars in the coaching community, and there have been many, many teams that have tried to get him out of London to come coach their NHL team,” stated Wyshinski. “If the team doesn’t perform, then without question it’s on the players, I mean there’s no more excuses.”
So far the team hasn’t changed their winning aspect of the game, going 4-5 under Coach Dale Hunter, but fans believe that the team has become more “watchable” in their eyes and have been playing better hockey. Hunter is the type of coach that will not put up with losing, and will improve his teams play in their own zone. He believes that good defense will follow with success on the ice.
“Dale Hunter can coach. Dale Hunter is one of the winningest coaches in recent Junior Hockey history. He’s good with X’s and O’s, he’s good at managing a roster, and trying to get the most out of his players. He’s had a number of guys lead that team and go and play well in the National Hockey League,” Wyshinski said.
“Dale Hunter is the dream candidate. When your team is struggling, and playing weak hockey, and not playing tough, he’s the guy that you would wish they would hire, to walk in to the locker room and crack someone over the head with his stick to get them to start playing.”
The Capitals have more than enough talent to become the best team in the NHL, but fans believe that it is all up to a coach that can bring them together. As long as Dale Hunter can do that, then this Washington Capitals team still has a chance in the running for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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