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Hunter rips Vokoun: “He wasn’t as sharp as he should have been…we need good goaltending”

Feb 23, 2012, 10:30 AM EDT

St Louis Blues v Washington Capitals Getty Images

For the second straight game — this time, in a 5-2 loss to Ottawa — Washington head coach Dale Hunter yanked his starting goalie, Tomas Vokoun, before the second period had let out.

But this time Hunter took things a step further, ripping his goalie’s play in the postgame presser.

“Tomas would like a few of them back,” Hunter said of Vokoun, who allowed four goals on 11 shots. “He wasn’t as sharp as he should have been, and it’s in the back of our net.”

“We need some big stops early that’s part of the game and tonight we played a good, solid road game and we lose. Goaltending is a big part of the game and we need good goaltending.”

While the 35-year-old netminder has struggled over his last two starts, it’s not entirely indicative of his play this year. Heck, it’s not even indicative of his play in February.

In eight games this month Vokoun is 3-4-1, but has posted two shutouts and boasts a .927 save percentage. Outside of the two latest debacles against Carolina and Tampa Bay you could argue he’s been one of Washington’s better performers this month — he hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a single contest (save the Sens game) and posted 30-save and 42-save shutouts in Montreal and Florida.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, Vokoun is represented by player agent Alan Walsh.

And just in case you’re wondering some more — yes, Walsh responded to Hunter’s criticisms.

“I’m not going to comment directly on what someone may have said after a game,” Walsh said in a text to the Washington Post. “I will point out though that hockey’s great coaches throughout history never resorted to publicly singling out a particular player, blaming him for a loss.

“Where I come from, you win as a team and lose as a team. The oldest, most tired excuse in the book is to blame the goalie.”

Good times in Washington, hey?

  1. abrienza428 - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    From an outside perspective, this looks terrible. Boudreau was criticized for yelling at his players at times, but it seems he really cared about them and wouldn’t single them out.

    Hunter has now called out a few players specifically for poor play. That’s recipe to lose a locker room fast. Huge mistake putting this guy in it looks like. I am guessing he will be gone after this season.

  2. lonespeed - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    ‘Rip’ and ‘ripping’ is a bit sensationalist.

    Saying his goalie wasn’t sharp, he would want some of his misses back and needs to be better for his team to compete is just stating the facts.

    Ripping him would be more like ‘Tomas Vokoun is not a very good goalie’ or ‘Vokoun sucked tonight and he’s the reason we lost’ or ‘Vokoun’s attitude sucks and he’s not going to get better unless he’s more dedicated’. Those are rips. What Hunter said is not.

    The media really put coaches in a bad spot. The media want coaches to answer their questions, but when they pose questions like ‘How would you assess your goalies play tonight’, I don’t know how exactly a coach can respond without being accused of ripping his own players. Should the coach cover up for his guy? Should he just say no comment? Apparently when he gives an honest assessment then it is a rip.

    I’m no Caps fan. Hate them in fact. But I don’t see how this is fair.

    • AppealToReason - Feb 23, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      The best coaches know how to skirt around that. Look how Vigneault dances around any question about Luongo’s play and not once has Vig ever really said anything negative about him or any of his players publicly. He may say “Yeah Roberto would have liked one back but the whole team wasn’t good tonight” and then he just talks about how the TEAM wasn’t good enough rather than one player.

  3. dagnats - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    as a caps fan, I just want the season over with…for sports DC = disappointment central

  4. solador78 - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Maybe if the Caps had a coach (instead of a rat) behind the bench, this wouldn’t be an issue.

  5. johninpa - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    I didn’t see the Ottawa game, but did watch the Carolina game. If that game was representative of Washington’s defense, it’s no wonder the scores have been lopsided. I’d have a pretty hard time putting it on just my goalie – defensively they all looked bad (offensively too, for that matter).

  6. mydadyourmom - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Hunter is a douchebag cheapshot artist. And obviously not cut out for the big leagues. Back to the OHL for Dale the Douche.

  7. jpelle82 - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    with no team in front of him he is going to lose. he had a nice save %, GAA and good number of shutouts in florida too. i said it when he signed them, he isnt known for being a winner, i thought with the caps would be able to put up more offense and make it work for him but this has just been a bad year all around in washington….cant just blame vokoun though.

  8. unknowneric - Feb 23, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Caps should send him to the Leafs for a solid pick and/or prospect, and just write this season off. Start fresh next year.

  9. federovs4skn - Feb 23, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    “the franchise” is the best sports team that ever existed. between lemieux, crosby, francis, ulfy, stevens, jagr, malkin, barrasso, fluery, letang, kovy, EEREY, coffey, endicott, hrdina, rechinball, wregget, staal, orpik, tochett, mullen, murphy, welsh, barnaby, lerioux, godard, larauque, craig t adams, park, whitney, straka, kaspiritus, engelland, caufield, nut bustin dustin jeffreys, cooke, neal, kunitz, scuderi, eaton, malone, roberts, borque, trottier, peck, shell, jennings, taglianetti, lang, theres no comparission that the greatness that spews out of this franchise is irresistable. come to the light side my friends.

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