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For Dale Hunter to succeed, he needs to do it old school

Nov 28, 2011, 9:14 AM EDT

Dale Hunter Getty Images

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.

  1. govtminion - Nov 28, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    Dale: “OK, first things first… hitting drills. You’ll all notice that I’ve duct-taped Alex Semin to the boards- hey, HEY! Form a line, come on guys!”

    • bcjim - Nov 28, 2011 at 9:49 AM


      And Semin might be in Hunters dog house for not taking *enough* stupid penalties!

      • elvispocomo - Nov 28, 2011 at 1:51 PM

        We might see a few more slap fights from Semin, but he’ll only have so many people he can do that to before he gets crushed. Bure (a la vs Churla) he ain’t.

  2. pastabelly - Nov 28, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    The problem down there is leadership. But that problem extends beyond the bench to on the ice as well. Replacing Boudreau is a band-aid move. The team is still too soft. When guys like Dennis Wideman and Roman Hamrlik are getting meaningful minutes on defense, something is seriously wrong.

    • govtminion - Nov 28, 2011 at 10:28 AM

      You have a very good point there- dumping some of the high-priced softies like Semin and Green would help a ton, frankly. I still think the biggest mistake they’ve made was giving the ‘C’ to Ovechkin though- your captain should be your leader, not just your highest scorer. He’s not a leader, from what we’ve seen. Removing it from him and putting it on someone else (Laich?) could help a ton- and could even revitalize Ovechkin himself. Remember the captain-ship being removed from Marleau and Modano?

  3. patrcisz - Nov 28, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    my classmate’s step-sister makes $73 hourly on the internet. She has been without work for 9 months but last month her check was $7238 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read about it on this site
    Cà s h H à r d . c Ò m

    • comeonnowguys - Nov 28, 2011 at 1:51 PM

      My cousin’s father’s neighbor’s former roommate makes $10 a day playing an oboe on a street corner. It’s awesome.

  4. cerowb - Nov 28, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Will Dale’s first lesson to the Caps be, “Cheap-shot every star player you can find”? This guy is a disgrace, always has been. Hope you fail miserably, Dale.

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