Nov 28, 2011, 9:14 AM EDT
Dale Hunter is going to have his hands full in replacing Bruce Boudreau as head coach of the Caps. They’re a team lacking a lot of things, but the Caps’ dedication to playing more defensive hockey that started last season led to the Caps becoming a seemingly joyless mess of a team.
While there’s a lot of pressure on Hunter to get things turned around for the Caps, he could make things a lot easier on himself and the rest of the team by doing something that Boudreau never fell back upon doing in his desperate final days in D.C. Instead of tweaking things defensively and turning the Caps into a pack of grinders, Hunter should just dial it back to a few seasons ago and take the leash off the team and let them attack at will.
The Caps became league and media darlings as an offensive juggernaut with Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin leading the charge and blazing up and down the ice scoring goals in bunches. After all, Nicklas Backstrom is back to being the dynamic playmaker again and giving him the chance to open it up would make the Caps far more dangerous.
If the Caps open things up and Tomas Vokoun gets to fall back on those old instincts from his Florida days, perhaps it awakens his game as well. After all, he put up some of the better numbers in the NHL behind a team that couldn’t score. If you get Ovechkin and Semin to be the 40 or 50-goal scorers they can be, who’s to say it can’t work for the Caps?
The Caps have gotten their dose of coaching to figure out how to play better defensively, but the Caps were dangerous because they could score a ton, not because they could backcheck like the 90′s Devils. Let those guys go free Dale, it could be the instantly smartest move you can make.
- NHL on NBCSN: Detroit pumped to face Chicago 2
- NHL on NBC: Penguins and Flyers resume rivalry as playoff race continues 7
- Discuss: Habs overcome three-goal deficit, beat Senators in overtime 15
- Canucks ready to face Luongo on Sunday 2
- West update: Stars blow lead yet still improve hold on wild card spot 4
- East update: Red Wings eke out shootout win for key points 0
- Luongo continues to foil Schneider as Panthers damage Devils’ playoff hopes 3
- TGIF: In which we salivate over potential playoff matchups 10
- Backstrom to receive silver medal, IOC says Sweden doctor ‘made a serious error’ 29
- Pens lose Neal to concussion 62
- Here are three ‘major changes’ the NHL should consider (98)
- Chiasson ‘shaken up’ by Peverley incident, won’t dress for Stars tonight (74)
- ‘It’s obvious Tortorella can’t come back next year,’ writes Vancouver reporter (62)
- Pens lose Neal to concussion (62)
- Video: Dryden on why hockey should ‘give up the fighting, but keep the fight’ (57)