DALE HUNTER NOT RETURNING BEHIND CAPITALS BENCH

 

Dale Hunter will not return in 2012-13

According to the Washington Post, and Comcast Sports Net Washington D.C, Washington Capitals head coach Dale Hunter will not return behind the bench next season to coach the team. Katie Carrera wrote just moments ago, “The decision was Hunter’s to make, and at 10 a.m., two days after Washington’s Game 7 elimination in the Eastern Conference semifinals, he told McPhee he would not be back.”

This should come as no surprise to Capitals fans that closely follow the team. The decision was not a surprise to team officials.  General Manager George McPhee told reporters at the Capitals Kettler Center practice facility this morning, “It wasn’t unexpected,” McPhee also told it was a “very, very difficult decision for him.”

Not really, when you consider what Hunter has to go back to in London Ontario. Hunter, who led the Capitals to 30-23-7 during the regular season after taking over for Bruce Boudreau in late November, is co-owner — and head coach, before going to Washington — of the OHL’s London Knights for the past 11 seasons. 

I wrote in my recap of Game 7 (published yesterday) that Hunter had a big decision to make, and I expected after speaking with numerous members of the Washington media that he would not return. There is also a common sense factor involved in this decision, and Hunter, chose to return to the comforts of home. Money is not an issue, and it became more and more apparent that Hunter, while more than qualified to coach in the NHL, was not thrilled with the media obligations and the big superstar mentality, which the Caps have no shortage of.

I wrote yesterday that the only way Hunter returned behind the bench was is if coaching the Washington Capitals was truly his dream job, as he said it was when he took over on November 28. Maybe it was the former Caps captain dream job, but it also entirely possible that it quickly became a headache Hunter realized he did not need. While it is hard not to believe that Hunter did not find the drama of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs intoxicating enough to crave more, the success of his junior team throughout his 11 seasons there is more than enough to fill the void left by the fact the Hunter never won a Stanley Cup paying in the NHL. One of the major reasons against Hunter return is his family ties in London.

When Dale departed for D.C, his brother Mark took over as head coach, GM, and Vice President. Dale’s son, Dylan, who was an OHL star when London won its only Memorial Cup in 2005, was already an assistant coach with the team.

A younger Hunter with current Ranger Brandon Prust as a London Knight

It appears what Hunter finds more intoxicating than the Stanley Cup Playoffs is helping young men reach their goal of playing in the NHL.  Despite losing the series to the New York Rangers, Hunter had to take great pride in the fact that six former Knights players were on the ice from both teams. They were Caps defenseman Dennis Wideman, John Carlson, and John Erskine, and from the Rangers, defenseman Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto. The lone forward is Rangers Left winger Brandon Prust.

On Friday night, the Knights beat the Niagara Ice Dogs 2-1 to win the Ontario Hockey League title. London won the best of seven final 4-1 and claimed just the second J. Ross Robertson Cup in franchise history. They will open their quest for the Memorial Cup on Friday against the defending CHL champion Saint John Sea Dogs. The Knights won the Memorial Cup in its only other appearance when it hosted the tournament in 2005 with Dale Hunter behind the bench as coach.

Guiding the Capitals into the playoffs on the next to last day of the regular season, and then earning the seventh seed on the last day, Hunters team defeated the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins in seven games before falling to the No.1 seeded NY Rangers in seven games on Saturday night.

It was obvious that Hunter was on to something with the Capitals with the success they had at times during the playoffs. The Capitals played a much more disciplined style of hockey than in post-seasons of the past, and Washington showed more resiliency than have been at any time during the Alex Ovechkin era.

Stay tuned to Capitals Corner for more breaking details and be sure to listen to the Capitals Corner Season Wrap up show on Blog Talk Radio tomorrow night starting at 7:00.

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About Alan Zlotorzynski

I am a 42-year-old amateur sports talk show host, and sports writer. I am from Baltimore, MD, and my first love is all things "Balwmer". The Ravens, Orioles, Terps, and Washington Capitals are the teams I love. Living in Melbourne Florida now, I follow the Florida Gators, and casually watch the other two Florida NHL teams. I love sports history, especially the NFL and NHL from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. I miss the Baltimore Colts, and the Baltimore Orioles. I hate everything Pittsburgh sports and will always cheer for whoever is playing the “Stillers”, Penguins, and Pirates. However, I do have much respect for the way those teams (except for the Pirates, they suck as bas the O’s) compete. I love the underdog, and 2-to-1 pitching duels. 10-7 mistake free defensive football games are great to watch and I like old time hockey. I believe Europeans are ruining the NHL. And Peter Angelos is a dick. I don't like the NBA, but I will watch the playoffs. I love college basketball. And believe March Madness is the best sports championship of the year followed by the Super Bowl. Nothing and I mean nothing beats a Game No.7 of any NHL playoff series. My favorite all time athletes are Johnny Unitas, Ray Lewis, Cal Ripken Jr., Wayne Gretzky, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. ( Junior sucks). For those of you that still call No.52 a murderer, you’re an asshole. Speaking of No.52, I don’t like Mike Green of the Washington Capitals because I don’t like crybaby sissies, who get hurt all of the time. I don’t like people who chronically complain about shit and do nothing to fix it. I love sports movies, and feel the top three all-time are *61, Field of Dreams, and Slap Shot. I love my hometown teams, but am also a realist. While I hate Duke Basketball, I feel Coach"K" is the greatest coach in any sport of my generation. Bill Belichick is a distant second. I don't like the Indianapolis Colts, but love Peyton Manning; I cannot stand the New York Yankees, but love Derek Jeter. I love my beautiful wife very much, whom I will be married to for three years this June. Gina is the greatest woman God has ever placed on this earth, and I now know she was my high school sweetheart all along. Without her my life would be shit. With her, I’m on top of the world. I have four great kids, and my oldest will always be Daddy’s Little Girl. Lauren I love you, and I will always be there for you. Izzi, Sarah, and Marco---Daddy Mr. Alan will never let you down either. I’d like to thank my father for his undying support, he is the greatest. I’m blessed to have a great step mother. Thanks Ome for being so good to me and my family. I want to tell my brother Brian, and sister Treena that I love them very much, and their families. Mom would be so proud. Speaking of mom, I miss her very much and know that she is watching from above. She is a big reason I’ve made it this far in life, and while I haven’t hit the big time yet, I know I will because of how she raised me. By the way, when I do make it, all of you are coming along for the ride. Thanks for your support, and if there is something you would like to read or hear just drop me a line at zbestsports1@gmail.com. Please be sure to log in and listen on Blog talk radio on MONDAY-WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY @ 6:30 to hear Z-Best R-rated Sports Talk.
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