Bruce Boudreau Fired: Washington Capitals Look to Dale Hunter for Guidance

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistNovember 28, 2011

WINNIPEG, CANADA - NOVEMBER 17: Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau speaks with the media, including The Hockey News' writer Ken Campbell (centre) after the team was defeated by the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 at the MTS Centre on November 17, 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
Marianne Helm/Getty Images

Sorry Bruce Boudreau, it’s time for you to pack your things and hit the road. All of those poor playoff performances can’t save you-know-what.

The Washington Capitals have fired the coach after a terrible 12-9-1 start to the season and replaced him with “Dirty” Dale Hunter.

For those who don’t remember or weren’t old enough to watch Hunter in action, his aggressive style led to a few confrontations with other teams and authority-type figures.

Boudreau has had opportunity after opportunity to get the Capitals to the next level, but failures have worn his chances of retaining his job to the point where management felt it would be better to go in a different direction.

18 Jan 1999:  Dale Hunter #32 of the Washington Capitals in action during the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Molson Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Canadiens tied with the Capitals 4-4. Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge  /Allsport
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

There was no question that Boudreau had lost the confidence of his team, especially star left wing Alex Ovechkin, who is having another subpar effort this season.

Since Bruce couldn’t whip the troops into shape, the Capitals decided to try their hand with a new NHL coach. It doesn’t hurt Hunter was a former captain for the Capitals, either.

While Hunter has no NHL coaching experience, he is a born leader. People can say what they want about him being dirty, because he was, but you can’t deny his ability to get his teams to perform on the ice.

It’s true that hunter hasn’t coached in the NHL, but he has been a head coach of the Ontario Hockey League team the London Knights. The OHL is a feeder system into the NHL, and coaching on that level is a good test to see what Hunter is made of.

In 10 seasons as the president and head coach of the Knights, Hunter won the Memorial Cup once and never missed the playoffs.

The Capitals hope Dale Hunter can bring back that winning tradition and urgency for a Stanley Cup that has been missing under Boudreau’s watch.

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