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What Dale Hunter can expect against St. Louis tonight

Nov 29, 2011, 8:22 AM EDT

Dale Hunter Getty Images

The Caps face off at home against the St. Louis Blues in an odd sort of “new coaches battle.” For Caps coach Dale Hunter going up against the reinvigorated Blues and coach Ken Hitchcock provides them with a curious way to start their new life with a new bench boss.

With the Caps struggling to reclaim their identity, having to do it in their first game under Hunter against a team that will come after them and defend to the death will make life difficult. Hunter is noted from his time coaching the London Knights for relying heavily upon his offensive stars to push the game. If Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, and Nicklas Backstrom want to impress the new boss tonight, they’ll have their work cut out for them. Lord knows there’s no more excuses for Ovechkin now.

Making matters more difficult will be how well the Blues goalies have both played of late. While Brian Elliott has been getting league-wide accolades, old nemesis Jaroslav Halak has been lights out since Hitchcock’s arrival in town as well. Just what the Caps want to have happen, find their old pace and ability to push the game only to have Halak there to stand on his head. Talk about reliving a nightmare.

Then again, it could prove to be rather “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” like in that they’ve got to beat that evil ex-boyfriend to be able to get through things. That might be exaggerating the point though. For now, Hunter has to be prepared for his team to have an uphill battle against a team that plays their tails off, defends very well, and has stellar goaltending of late to top it all off.

Having a tough task right off the bat might prove to be the best thing for the Caps to kick off the Dale Hunter era.

  1. bcjim - Nov 29, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    I hope Erskine is in the lineup. The Caps need someone to maintain order against the Blues. Seems like every time they play (not very often), the Blues pull some underhanded stuff.

    Hunter wont stand for that, but he cant go on the ice himself and the Caps are a little short of pugilists it seems. I though Brouwer and Ward would not be opposed to a little pow-pow but I dont think I have seen either drop a glove this year.

    Chimera is a hothead, but damn he also our leading scorer..wth is going on here?!?!

    • dipthatchip - Nov 29, 2011 at 9:34 AM

      Caps world is upside down. 8 and friends know they have a lot to prove tonight and the media is going to rip them apart tonight if they don’t come out guns blazing.

      If we could just get rid of 55 and bring in someone that isn’t made of yellow cake, perhaps our defense would start hitting. Screw you Sarge

      • selldannysell - Nov 29, 2011 at 9:39 AM

        How Jeff Schultz still has a job in this league is a mystery to me.

      • brianforster - Nov 29, 2011 at 10:11 AM

        where have i heard that yellow cake comment before haha

      • dcfan4life - Nov 29, 2011 at 11:26 AM

        Jeff Shultz is slow. He doesnt handle the puck well. He misses checks. His reads stink. And he is the only big defensemen who doesnt block shots. Totally agree, how is he still in the league.

        But the rest of the defense hasnt been good either. Carlson and Alsner have miss back checks and our centers have been beaten routinely off zone faceoffs for opposing scoring chances. I dont get it, and i hope Hunter motivates them.

    • wethog66 - Nov 29, 2011 at 12:00 PM

      Last year, and the years before, negative comments about Double Nickle would be warranted, but with The Hammer on the team Schultz gets a pass for now, IMO. Roman Hamrlk makes Schultz look like a Mike Green cloan. Worst offseason addition by GMGM since Jagr. That guy is the anti-poon.

  2. govtminion - Nov 29, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    My bet? Tonight, he gets a lackluster effort much like the one against Buffalo.

    Tomorrow? He bag-skates that team back to the Stone Age and lets them know just how much bullcrap he’s willing to deal with.

  3. nhmac - Nov 29, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    Looks like Halak is starting tonight, good news for the Caps. I expect Washington to win big tonight, although I think they continue to play mediocre hockey for some time to come.

    • rizio18 - Nov 29, 2011 at 12:23 PM

      Wow cause Halak is starting tonight you actually think they will win huge. They actually have have to get around the Blues tough D plus Halak has been playing great under Hitch. The Blues actually show they can play with anyone.

  4. capsrockva - Nov 29, 2011 at 5:32 PM


  5. rizio18 - Nov 30, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    So Halak wins!!!!!!!!!

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