Skip to content

Dale Hunter says the Bruins are targeting Nicklas Backstrom’s head

Apr 17, 2012, 12:52 PM EDT

Dale Hunter Getty Images

Capitals coach Dale Hunter has seen just about enough. Hunter spoke with the media after the team’s practice this afternoon and had a few choice words for the Boston Bruins regarding their treatment of Nicklas Backstrom.

Hunter feels the Bruins are targeting Backstrom’s head and with Backstrom facing a hearing with the league about his cross check to Rich Peverley‘s head, Hunter tells’s Chuck Gormley he’s sick of the Bruins going after his guy and professes his innocence.

“I don’t think he’s going to be suspended,” Hunter said. “If you slow it down frame by frame, where was [Peverley’s] stick? It was up in his face first … and Nicky reacted to it. 

“I think [Backstrom] was trying to protect his face. If you watch it, [Peverley’s] stick is right in his eyes and it’s a dangerous play on their part, especially for [Backstrom] because if you notice, every scrum Nicky comes out with no helmet on. He gets a blocker to the head by [Tim] Thomas the game before [in Game 2]. He’s protecting his head. He just came off of 40 games.”

Backstrom missed three months of hockey after getting hit in the head by Rene Bourque in January, so the Caps have every right to be sensitive about their star player’s head possibly being targeted.

With the nasty level of this series increasing each game, this latest accusation makes the ongoing war of words, which saw Milan Lucic and Karl Alzner join the party last night, all the more intriguing. Game 4 should prove to be an angst-filled affair.

  1. mydadyourmom - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Shut up Hunter you weasel.

    • tonyromoisterrible - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:40 PM

      If the offside had been called properly on that Chara goal none of this BS would have ever happened. The bruins are the second dirties team in the league with a goon like Lucy(c), who is a good player but is out there game in and game out trying to get into a fight. He has been a non fact except the fact that he tries to fight the entire Capitals team. Horse MANURE all around.

      • bsicely - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:33 PM

        So who is the first the Capitals. Guess you won’t talk about the stick given to the nuts of Marchard by Chimera when play was stopped. Or maybe the two cheap cross checks by Backstrom??? Or maybe the cross check in front of the net to Lucic by Weidman after the play that caused the fight. You know you really should watch the games before commenting on them. Stop crying because the sport is played by men and the Capitals happen to have none of them on their team.

  2. hairpie - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Is he joking or is this serious???

    • rg3isvictory - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:18 PM

      I’m always amazed to see how many men take the time to argue and/or complain about a story on PFT!!! It’s like women who watch Soaps. The “your teams dirtier” is lame and overly dramatic!!! Gentlemen, please stop acting like ladies!!!

    • stratomaticfan - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:49 PM

      He’s trying to protect his guy. But he comes off as a clown, when it’s Backstrom that has been throwing multiple cross checks, including going after Peverly’s head in defense of his teammate (who he probably didn’t realize got tripped to the ground in retaliation for a dirty cross check moments earlier). Doesn’t help that Shannahan has had no consistency and a lenient hand in discipline when it comes to dirty play. He’s more concerned with “did the guy get hurt” rather than “did the other play TRY to hurt him”

      • pepper2011 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:37 PM


  3. mgp1219 - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:58 PM


    Shut up, you hypocrite! Of all the coaches in the entire NHL, you have no right to complain about any other team’s style of play. You were one of the dirtiest, if not the all-time dirtest player in the NHL. You’ve evn got Backstrom resorting to your old tactics.

    • sumthinsweet - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:22 PM

      Your an idiot. Backstrom has never gone after anyone to fight or much less hurt someone in his entire career. The Bruins have to take cheap shots and play dirty to make up for there lack of skill. If I were Backstrom, I would have taken a few teeth with me instead of just loosening up his helmet. Make them sorry F’s think twice when theh come lookin to hit him in the head. Its Bullsh*t…

  4. hairpie - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Oh, and the “blocker to the head” by Thomas was because Backstrom hacked Thomas’s glove 5 times while he was covering the puck.

  5. govtminion - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Dale, your guys were in the red jerseys last night. That was Backstrom targeting someone ELSES head. Pay attention, dude.

    • sumthinsweet - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:32 PM

      WOW…yall sound silly even talkin about another team being dirty… The Bruins are actually KNOWN as a dirty team. Thats there M-O… its actually getting rediculous.

      • fubar77 - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:48 PM

        Call me a twit on my other post… said, “Im sure your a Bruins fan thats never been to Boston… TWIT!!!”

        Twit? Really? That is the best you have? What does this even mean? Makes no sense. Where in my post did I say I never been to Boston? I grew up in Boston live in DC now, so what are you talking about? Oh wait you are a fair weather Caps fan and don’t know what you are talking about because you never watched hockey until Ovechkin came to town. Bury your head in the sand and wait for your effing prom!

      • fubar77 - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:50 PM

        Oh and you used “your” in your first post to me, it should be you’re, learn contractions, and you spelled ridiculous wrong above. Hard to take you seriously when you are nearly illiterate. Who is the twit?

  6. drewsylvania - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Dale Hunter: “She was asking for it with that dress.”

  7. homelanddefense - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    good to see that Hunter is so concerned with player safety now that he isnt in the league. Hypocrite.

    There have been 3 intentional sticks to the face in this series by Washington players.

  8. bossyrossy - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Hmm – a lot of calling Hunter a hypocrite in the comments. Not so many refuting Backstrom’s head was being targeted.

    • hairpie - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      I dont think anyones refuting it because its so ridiculous. Its an attempt by Hunter to make something up so his players dont get suspended.

      • baywatchboy - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        Disclaimer: All hits and visor grabbing in this clip are made up

      • homelanddefense - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM

        laughable video from May. Way to start the clips after the initial confrontation. That vid of Bergeron grabbing Backstroms lid was after two Caps went at Bergerons lid during the game

      • homelanddefense - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM

        sorry, I meant during that scrum, not the game

    • jasol20 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      Ok, put me down for not calling Hunter a hypocrite and also refuting that Backstrom’s head is being targeted. I understand that playing and coaching are totally different and his responsibilities and roles are not what they used to be – so I’m separating Hunter the coach from Hunter the player. That said, Backstrom’s head is not being targeted, and certainly not in a “hey, there’s Backstrom’s freshly returned from concussion head, let’s see how far I can make it roll” kind of way, which seems to be what Hunter thinks is going on.

    • itsallniceonice - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      His head wasn’t being targeted. Such ridiculous spin. What should Thomas do? In order to get a point across in hockey it’s hands to the face. It’s not like Thomas was like “oh man here comes Mr. Concussion” and blasts him for no reason. I supposed he could have rapped him with his stick but it would have cued just as much whining over “the cheap shotting Bruins”.

      Peverley did have his stick close to Backstrom’s face, but Hunter’s argument works just as well for Peverley. Who is to say Peverley wasn’t moving his stick like that because Backstrom was closing in and he needed to protect himself?

  9. thdrkpoet - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    I think Pierre Turgeon just threw up.

  10. mjdkid100 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Can someone actually point to one instance of Backstroms head being hit? Thats why no one here is refuting it. Its jsut too ridiculous

    And no a blocker hit by tim Thomas doesnt count and would not give my little sisters a concussion.

  11. spizzjr - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Pierre turgeon Nuff said

  12. rdurk86 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    The quote from Hunter saying Peverley’s stick was “up in his face first” is crazy. Peverley was turned sideways when Backstrom came over, so he turned and lifted his stick from one side to the other so he could square up to Backstrom. He can’t go through him with his stick to square up so he lifts it over his head.

    Hunter is just grasping at excuses to try and defend his guy.

  13. dcdiehard82 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    There is a lot of idiots in Boston! Dirty pricks! After this series is over I can’t wait to listen to you dirty town dwellers excuses of why you guys lost… GO CAPS

    • mjdkid100 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:36 PM

      Good comeback. Loaded with facts.

      Typical Caps fan. Probably found out they have an NHL 4 years ago.

      • mjdkid100 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:37 PM


    • fubar77 - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      As a Bruin fan who has lived in DC for nearly 20 years….we may be whatever you want to call us, but we aren’t fair weather fans. We love our Bruins win or lose. Down here you all cry if they don’t win every night and more than half of the twits that attend a Caps game know little to nothing about the game. I have never heard such ridiculous comments about the sport as I hear from you trolls. When I moved here I would go to Caps games and the visiting team would have more fans than the Caps. Now they win a few and you all are hockey historians. Pfft!

      Your Caps played dirty yesterday and the Bruins delivered in kind….now because you lost you whine like freakin Pittsburgh fans. Go Bruins!

      • sumthinsweet - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:37 PM

        Im sure your a Bruins fan thats never been to Boston… TWIT!!!

  14. havok82 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Dale “head” Hunter wants to complain about extra curriculars? Dude, you almost INVENTED after the whistle crap. Yes, Peverly tripped Ovi (missed), but Backstrom CLEARLY went for the head (again). It was the third head shot cross check in the series and (I think) Backstrom’s 3rd cross check of the GAME. The man had 16 PIM’s in the game!

    Dale, put down the pipe….that stuff isn’t tobacco.

    • mornelithe - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      Even pot won’t mess you up badly enough for him to seriously believe the statements he’s making.

  15. baywatchboy - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Backstrom should be kicked out of hockey because clearly the Bruins never do anything wrong. Peverly’s blatant trip of Ovechkin was clearly fabricated and the bringing of his stick up to his face as Backstrom approached was surely meant as a peace offering. Since the Caps are a bunch of cheating gutless cowards, let’s just stop the series now and give it to the Bruins so they can be well rested for their next series.

    • drewsylvania - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:45 PM

      I guess you were watching the bay and not the game.

    • ken1313 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:49 PM

      You’re joking…right? Do you watch the games…or are you one of those people who just jumps on a Bandwagon that is heading over a cliff??? You are DEAD wrong.

      • baywatchboy - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:44 PM

        Which bandwagon am I jumping on and what am I DEAD wrong about? I covered a few things. Do I watch every second of every game? No. I only care about my team.

  16. ken1313 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Dale Hunter as a coach…is the same as he was as a player…pure slime. NO TEAM in the NHL has more sensitivity to concussion issues than the Bruins…..they lost Bergeron for a year…Horton for a year pretty much (and counting) and Marc Savard had his career ENDED by concussion. The Bruins do not target heads Dale…that was YOUR M.O. F’n scumbag

    • bcjim - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      Oh, shut up.

      The Bruins are a gang of thugs and cheapshotters as far as I am concerned.

      • ken1313 - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        lol….TRUTH HURTS EH? Geez…it’s comical to watch the hate you people bring…especially when you are wrong.

      • fubar77 - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        Who cares what concerns one of you fair weather Caps fans. You all just started watching the sport when Ovechkin came to town!

      • scalfor3 - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        yeah. kesler is an angel though

      • 2dollarpbrs - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:19 PM

        you forgot Stanley Cup Champs

  17. dcdiehard82 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Hey MJ tell ur mom she uses too much starch on my Peter Bondra Jersey you dirty piece of garbage!!

  18. xhankmoodyx - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Ridiculous how the Bruins are being portrayed as saints in this series.

    • drewsylvania - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      They’re not being portrayed as saints–they’re just not being portrayed as thugs.

    • fubar77 - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      No one said they are saints, but stop pretending what happened yesterday didn’t happen. Bruins give a s good as they get, but no one is targeting anyone’s head. Lucic is a hot head, but he didn’t cross check someone in the damn throat. Bruins will straight up fight, but don’t really take cheap shots. Even your own players are apologizing for some of their antics. Read all the headlines……..I know you are new to hockey since Ovechkin came along, but if you try you can actually learn about the game!

  19. caps247 - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Everyone calling Hunter a hypocrite: did you even see the entire game?

    After almost every whistle there was a bruins player always tugging at Backstrom’s head, practically trying to tear it off. Backstrom did what he did at the end of the game because he was frustrated that he was being targeted almost the entire game (and Backstrom isn’t even the type of guy who would fight). Almost after every whistle Backstrom’s helmet was torn off his head. He was clotheslined by Peverley. Unfortunately, only Peverley was caught and given a penalty for doing it.

    • fubar77 - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      Do you have video of all these offenses? I actually really like Backstrom and I would say something if that were the case. It simply isn’t. There was one soft shot by Thomas and now it gets blown up to a “bounty” on Backstrom. It is just ridiculous!

    • dropthepuckeh - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:13 PM

      “Backstrom did what he did at the end of the game because he was frustrated that he was being targeted almost the entire game (and Backstrom isn’t even the type of guy who would fight).”

      @caps247 Are you his mom? How do you have any idea why he did it? If you want to talk about grabbing someone’s head look at what your team does to Lucic anytime there is any kind of scrum. I don’t really blame them because they know they well get pummeled if he is allowed to fight fair but they grab onto his head and arms and hold on for dear life. Also, what is your response to Ovie’s cross check on Seidenberg? Anyone else does that and its a major and suspension. Stupid plays coming from two of the most talented players in the world. What if someone did that Ovechkin or Backstrom. Backstrom would probably be done for his career. That sound fair to you? If your guys want to play that type of game I promise you will be horribly disappointed and your caps247 will be watching reruns of the good old days. Or just the last couple of years you choked in the playoffs…

  20. xhankmoodyx - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Not a Caps fan but I’m pretty sure if you watch the video Peverley’s stick comes up high before Backstrom even lifts his arms. Nothing but a bunch of Bruins homers on here.

    • drewsylvania - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      He puts his stick up in response to Backstrom coming at him. Big deal. Why does “putting his stick up” warrant a cross check to the head?

      Raising your stick when someone comes at you after the play will never get you a penalty or a suspension. Nor should it.

  21. caps247 - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Yeah, Dale Hunter pulled one of the most dirtiest moves in the NHL but don’t you think he realized his mistake? Can a man not change 30 years later?

    And why are the comments all focused on Hunter instead of the actual topic headline?

  22. xhankmoodyx - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Didn’t say Peverley deserved a suspension, but when you have just come back from a concussion and somebody looks like they’re going hit you up high you’re stick is going to come up too.

    • baywatchboy - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      unless your Backstrom

    • drewsylvania - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      Sure, but that’s different from “The Bruins are targeting his head.”

  23. bergeronforselke - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Who does he think he is, Alain Vigneault?

  24. habsman - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Bruin fans are funny.

    They all post together in an attempt to convince you that you didn’t see what actually happened. Caps fans are seeing it up front for the first time. The Bruins will sucker punch and cheap shot, and then their fan base will try to convince you that the other team started it.

    What’s puzzling is why Shanahan is continuing to allow Lucic and others to get away with it. I guess he is just a puppet for Colin and little Greg after all.

    We shall see. BTW, what the over/under for the next Bruin sucker punch or cheap shot? We all know it’s coming.

    Got to go now, Habs are golfing on TV.

    • fubar77 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:03 PM

      I am new to these boards and already I know you are a troll. Just watch the damn video you myopic dunce.

      • habsman - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:22 PM

        Name calling.
        You’re going to fit in nicely around here.

    • hairpie - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      What are you talking about?

    • 2dollarpbrs - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:23 PM

      As opposed to the Habs fans who wanted everyone arrested when anyone hits one of their beloved flopping players

      Christ they probably even flop on the golf course……stupid Habs

      • hairpie - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:24 PM

        LOL… Thats hysterical. They are a despicable team for sure.

  25. sabatimus - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Just keep talking, Dale. Keep talking. Keep on chirping Alzner. You’re simply fueling the fire.

  26. happster - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Oh what a crock. He was the aggressor, trying to retaliate for Peverly tripping Ovechkin. Peverly put his stick up in a defensive posture. The fact that he is lying really confirms what we all know- it was a dirty, dangerous, stupid, childish, undisciplined act, that unnecessarily cost his team. You’re just further embarassing your team with your disingenuous, self-serving interpretation of the exchange. Enjoy the bench for pivotal game 4, loser.

  27. ejannetta - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Dale Hunter…STFU!…keep your trap shut. You were one of DIRTIEST hockey players ever….Goon!

  28. chocolatecitywarrior - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    It seems like Boston fans are getting really defensive over their B’s. Me thinks this has something to do with the Red Sox and Celtics both blowing goats and the Patriots choking once again…I guess the Bruin’s season is the only thing keeping the residents of Boston from doing everyone else a favor and jumping off a bridge into the Charles River. I don’t remember them being so loud when Julien (aka Gerald Ford) did the same sh@t before game 3. Now whose the hypocrites…go f$&@ yourselves you Beantown flamers

    • fubar77 - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      Wow are you grasping at straws….Boston teams have won the majority of the championships of the last 10 years and unlike Caps fans or O’s fans we support our teams win or lose. You fair weather knobs wouldn’t know what that is like. So no we aren’t defensive, but we will call it like we see it. Watch the game, better yet learn how the game is played and then come talk to a real sports fan! Until then I would stick to the things you know the best like, running off at the mouth, jumping on bandwagons and performing poor cunnilingus!

    • sabatimus - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:04 PM

      I’m not even going to dare to comment on that handle.

  29. chrism516 - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Dale Hunter has absolutely NO credibility. Their guys are spearing guys in the groin, cross checking to the head. Shut up Hunter you moron.

  30. sunupcrab - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    For 3 games the Bruins have targeted Backstrom. Whatever anyone thinks of Hunter, the fact is that Backstrom’s helmet was on the ice whenever any Bruin managed to catch him. Caps only started to retaliate in game 3. Bad calls dominate the series.

  31. arbruins - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Don’t you think that if Backstrom were a target that he would be gone by now? If the Bruins are as dirty as all you haters believe, why is the spot light so bright on the Penguins? I am sure Shannahan would have done something by now and no Habsman, Collie’s son has nothing to do with it. A few more games and the Habs will have the Canucks and the Penguins to play against.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1644)
  2. P. Kessel (1641)
  3. M. Richards (1385)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1235)
  5. N. Backstrom (1118)