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Report: Hunter steps down as Washington head coach

May 14, 2012, 12:20 PM EDT

St Louis Blues v Washington Capitals Getty Images

According to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, Dale Hunter is done in Washington.

That’s the rumor du jour as the former NHLer and current analyst tweeted the news just minutes ago. Kypreos, a friend and former teammate of Hunter, was one of the first to break the news that Hunter would replace Bruce Boudreau as the Capitals head coach back in November.

If Hunter does step down, it’d be surprising and unsurprising at the same time. He was on a one-year deal in Washington and there was much speculation he’d taken the job mostly as a favor to Caps GM George McPhee. Hunter is heavily invested in his OHL club in London — which he and brother Mark own, manage and coach — and has turned the Knights into one of the premier junior clubs in the world.

That said, it’s hard to fathom Hunter walking away after the postseason he’s had. The Capitals entered the playoffs as the East’s No. 7 seed but proceeded to upset the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins in Round 1, before pushing top-seeded New York to seven games in Round 2.

Update

McPhee has informed the media that Hunter is indeed leaving his post.

“It was a very, very difficult decision for him,” McPhee told the Washington Post. “We love everything about Dale. We were delighted he could come in and spend six months with us. He really taught the club the ‘how’ of winning.”

  1. barkar942 - May 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    McPhee- go get Mike Haviland!

  2. govtminion - May 14, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Paging Bob Hartley, would someone please find Bob Hartley’s phone number?

  3. The Moyers Team: Dwayne & Maryanne Moyers, Realtors - May 14, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    My favorite player, and favorite coach. With him the Washington Capitals had a good chance to win the Stanley Cup. George McPhee please draft defense in the first round, and physical linemen to set screens in the offensive zone during the 2012 NHL Draft.

    • mgp1219 - May 14, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      Your favorite player??? He was probably the dirtiest player ever to play in the NHL, or at least one of the top 5. You really like the way he played? He was a disgrace to the game and should have been banned after that hit on Turgeon.

      • rfoster75 - May 14, 2012 at 1:14 PM

        That was dirty for sure, but man do I fantasize about someone doing that after an opposing player just crushes your dreams.

      • pens5829 - May 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM

        Even worse than the Turgeon hit: http://youtu.be/Kd8ISpShoA4

      • rg3isvictory - May 14, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        Stop crying! We love him so feel free to suck ONE!

      • rg3isvictory - May 14, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        Also loved the hit on Joe!!! It’s hockey, if you don’t like it you can enjoy some tennis, baseball and even football in the near future!!!

    • selldannysell - May 14, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      How about a couple of centers, too?

    • jpelle82 - May 14, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      linemen setting screens? are you talking about football?

  4. cliverush - May 14, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Wow, the rest of the conference is happy to hear this news. After watching the Caps beat the Bruins in seven then taking that same level of intensity against the Rangers, this fan was amazed in what a coach can do. This man knows the game and leaves to join the unheralded group who develop new talent. Good luck.

    • stakex - May 14, 2012 at 12:57 PM

      I would point out that the team Washington had was suppose to contend for the Cup at the start of the season. The fact that they lost in the second round isn’t really a great sign for Washington, and isn’t really any improvement over the last couple seasons.

      • marvinband9 - May 14, 2012 at 1:42 PM

        What?

      • jpelle82 - May 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

        agreed, they did what they always do come playoff time. only difference was they underacheived all year, faced their share of injuries, and crept in the back door of the playoffs instead of winning their division. with a goalie playing as well as he was, this was the best chance they’ve had in years.

    • joshuakorr - May 14, 2012 at 4:52 PM

      As a Bruins fan and a hockey fan, I’m happy to hear this news. Congrats to Dale for doing so well this playoffs but I was really bored watching the Boston-Washington series. I understand that Hunter did what he had to do to win but the fact that all these games were so close was really because it was dead-puck hockey.

      I’m not saying we should strive for the Philly Pittsburgh series level of insanity. I loved the Bruins Tampa series last year, that was good close hockey. I’d love to see Holtby backstop the high-fueled caps team. That would be a treat.

  5. stakex - May 14, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    No suprise here. Hunter never really seemed to enjoy himself in Washington, and I think a lot of people expected him to head back to his OHL team this summer.

  6. dolfandon - May 14, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Find Scotty Bowman and pay him whatever it takes. If not the coach then as a consultant and/or general manager.

    • hiltonandastoria - May 14, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      LOL Keep dreamin’

  7. cspsrbums - May 14, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Calling Alan May

    • wheresdapuck - May 14, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      Good choice – no nonsense kind of guy! Certainly understands hockey!

      • grimlock410 - May 14, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        All real caps fans must stop this. No way not a chance to Alan F’n may. We need a real coach and it would be nice to get someone in DC who actually has a cup.

  8. pastabelly - May 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    The Capitals had turned into a very boring team under Hunter. They were better, but boring. As a fan of the game, it will be good to see him go.

  9. caps247 - May 14, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Of course he leaves when the Caps finally get used to his system.

  10. blueblood86 - May 14, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Caps will Hire Ron Wilson

    • govtminion - May 14, 2012 at 4:28 PM

      Only if McPhee loses a bar bet.

  11. caps247 - May 14, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    “As a fan of the game, I would like to see him go”

    As a fan of the organization, I would rather like to see us win. Look at the Boudreau era – the Caps were basically laughing at every other team during the regular season, and they couldnt even get past the first round. With Hunter, he took a team struggling at times and upsetted the defending champs and pushed the #1 seed to 7 games.

    Hopefully next year we get a good coach that can make the game exciting to watch with an offensive explosion and help us get far in the playoffs at the same time.

  12. ray2013 - May 14, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    This story explains a lot. If he always knew he was leaving to go back to London, then he was free to coach however he wanted to, and force the team play his style. And there is no point to Ovechkin or others raising a big fuss about Hunter because he’s leaving at the end of the year.

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