Game 23. 11/29/2011. St. Louis Blues at Washington Capitals. 7pm
Twenty-two games into the 2011-12 season, GM George McPhee reluctantly fired head coach Bruce Boudreau, naming London Knights head coach Dale Hunter to replace him behind the bench.
In his four-year tenure, which made him the fifth-longest serving head coach in the league — such is the limited shelf life of NHL head coaches today — Boudreau brought increasing relevance and excitement to the Capitals in the international, national and local sports world. His teams rattled off division, conference and league titles in the regular season, but could not make it past the second round in a series of playoff disappointments.
McPhee has sought out the coaching interest of Hunter on and off for nearly a decade, but until recently Hunter had not indicated that he was ready to leave his lucrative London franchise for uncertainty in the NHL. Nonetheless, he has evidently coveted the Capitals head coaching position for some time and took pains to stay current with Capitals games, and the team's ups and downs, for most of the last ten years. Beloved by the team's fans for both his leadership and physical play, Hunter's number is retired by the organization.
The Caps enter tonight's game against a surging Blues team having gone a respectable 12-9-1, but are on a 5-9-1 stretch following a blistering 7-0 start. They have looked listless and disinterested for too many games recently, and it cost Boudreau his job. St. Louis has been riding the exceptional play of goaltender Brian Elliott.
Fun facts: With his '70s hockey moustache, presumably in honor of Movember, Dale Hunter looks eerily like my dad. True story.
Lineups to follow as they become available later in the day.
If you aren't mad, you probably aren't trying your hardest. If our players cared about as much as winning as Dale did, he probably wouldn't be behind the bench tonight. Ironic, heh.
Be there or watching, or Dale will Ulf you. Naturally, the Pens feed says Ulf was ailing, Ulf was asking if he wanted to go, yeah right. They barely showed his bloody visor, nor him on the ice as Dale was already getting stitched up. Classic Dale, stick in hand, right in the face.
I am thrilled with Dale's early moves. Dale has been watching. I doubt Muller and his paltry 1200 career PIMs have been.
Orlov needs to be groomed to pinch hit for when Green goes down next, on the PP proper.
Sarge is mired in mediocrity from a development stand point for 100 games now, and I suspect Dale sees it. Previous attempts at sitting Sarge seemed to have made him hungry.
Its Hammer time. He is here whether we like it or not. I suspect Bruce's all defensive defensemen are interchangable with the centers approach really hurt Hammers game. I will buck the trend and say if Dale abandons making our DD take unneeded risks, hammer will prove to be a decent signing. Hannan was a mess early on too. These are 2 NHL rocks.