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Backstrom on Hunter departure: “It’s not good”

May 14, 2012, 2:56 PM EDT

Dale Hunter Getty Images

Before the Capitals were eliminated, forward Brooks Laich emphatically declared he wanted coach Dale Hunter back behind the bench next season.

“Why wouldn’t I?” said Laich. “Absolutely. He’s been great.”

So that’s one Washington player we can assume wasn’t thrilled to hear that Hunter won’t be sticking around.

Another player we can put in the disappointed category is star center Nicklas Backstrom.

“I really wanted to see him back next year but unfortunately he’s not,” said Backstrom, as per the Washington Post. “It’s not good.”

Alex Ovechkin might not be so broken up with the news. The Caps’ captain was forced to take on a reduced role during the playoffs, something he admitted wasn’t the easiest thing to accept. That said, he did acknowledge he “learned a lot” from Hunter.

“It doesn’t matter if I like it or not, because he’s my coach and I have to listen,” Ovechkin said. “How he said, you have to be a plumber. So I was a plumber.”

Hunter briefly touched on his relationship with Ovechkin in today’s news conference, as per

“Definitely we had player-coach talk, like don’t pressure on yourself, it’s a team a game out here and we need everyone to play,” said Hunter. “Everybody needs to do the little things to win and that’s how we were able to battle a great team.”

  1. govtminion - May 14, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    I hadn’t heard that plumber remark before. I wish I had Photoshop on my computer, that’s just begging for Ovechkin’s face to be ‘shopped onto Mario.

    • polegojim - May 14, 2012 at 8:28 PM

      Fact is, Hunters results were no different than his predecessors = No Cup.

      No worse, no better. Only difference is Ovi didn’t get to pad the stats… WhooHoo.

      Team work ethic is a HUGE part of the Caps problem. Too much talent… too bad.

      • rg3isvictory - May 14, 2012 at 11:03 PM

        Fact is Hunter had half a season with the Caps! Given a little more time we could make those statements, considering the improved effort in the playoffs as a team it’s a little absurd to knock him for righting a sinking ship that wasnt going to make the playoffs or knockoff the defending champs before nearly beating the #1 seed. Hunters time as Caps coach was a successful one. Backstroke realizes that the Caps could go to the OVI show with Hunter leaving. Its going to be an interesting off season!

      • polegojim - May 15, 2012 at 1:58 PM

        Sadly rg3… the results have been NO different with the Ovi show.

        Something LARGE is missing in that locker room.

  2. dawglb - May 14, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Hunter clearly made his impact felt.. Something like 13 of 14 playoff games were one goal games. They lost 4 OT games, and won every game that came next. He took a divided locker room and unified it. He took a soft team, and toughened them up. He took a Captain who wasn’t much of a leader and humbled him. All of this is less than a season. Nice job, Dale!

    • wethog66 - May 14, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      The team was never divided. Soft, sure, but not sure where you are getting that the team was divided when Hunter was brought in.

      • rg3isvictory - May 14, 2012 at 11:13 PM

        The locker room was divided if you read between the lines. Many players weren’t happy with Bruce getting pushed around and eventually pushed out! There is clearly a divide between the divas and the blue collar guys that make up the true heart and sole of the team. See you later Semin, peace out Vokoun and take yourself your job and this team much more seriously OVi, or get out!!!

  3. akismet-94bae1567912d14e1177877e8b1376ad - May 14, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Kudos Dale. I’m not a Caps fan but I was impressed to see how he got this team to buy into his system and got the most out of a rookie goalie to boot. Ovechkin is whiny, one way floater and one trick pony he doesn’t deserve a coach of Dale’s status… Best of luck Dale!

  4. grillmarks - May 14, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    What the hell kind of response is that (Ovechkin)? “It doesn’t matter what I think….” You’re right, it doesn’t matter, but he was asking you what you thought even though your opinion did not matter with regard to your playing time. What a jackass.

    • stakex - May 14, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      Actually Ovi said the right thing. I think its safe to assume hes not upset to see Hunter leave town, but it would be disrespectful to say so in public. Instead he took the high ground, said the politicaly correct thing, and the team moves on.

  5. broadstbully - May 14, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    I think that Ovechkin comment was in response to seeing less ice during the playoffs. I don’t think he’s commented one way or another on Hunter’s departure, as of yet.

    • gianthatr - May 14, 2012 at 6:10 PM

      Umm The little blue html link in the article for “Ovechkin’s” name begs to differ…

  6. caps247 - May 14, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    If Ovechkin’s a jackass for saying the politically correct thing, then I don’t know what to say.

    Is he supposed to bash Dale for giving him reduced ice time, even when it helped the team win in urgent situations? Scandals would pop up faster than you can say “That was a mistake”.

    Ovechkin said the right thing, displaying respect for his coach. After all, Hunter greatly improved the Capitals in less than a season.

    It’s going to be hard to see Hunter go, most likely the assistant coaches like Jim Johnson, Dean Eaveson, Olie Kolzig, and other franchise players like Semin, Knuble, and (maybe) Green.

    Hopefully we can make up for this in the offseason, for we have a lot of work to do.

  7. cspsrbums - May 14, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Not A big Hunter fan he did get them to play as a team but I didn’t agree with sitting on one goal leads that came back and bit them in game 5. The Caps will and are collapsing they will be in the bottom Of the SE for years to come now with Semin gone another new coach and others that aren’t happy. Kuz isn’t coming but we still have Wideman and Shultz. Hunter did alienate a others along the way for a one year deal Ekin,Orlov Erskines to name a few. He didn’t seem to care what he was doing to the future kids of this team it was all about this one year

  8. dawglb - May 14, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    @wethog66, read player comments that said things like, “…some guys are buying in to the system, and some are not.” and, “…not everyone is giving their all in this system.” I took this things to mean that if some of the team is doing it, and some is not, then it was divided. Google it. Players actually said this things.

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