Dale Hunter signed a one-year deal to coach the Washington Capitals upon replacing Bruce Boudreau. But Hunter on Thursday – predictably – didn’t want to talk about it, and players – even more predictably – shrugged it off as something that doesn’t affect their play or this season.
“I just haven’t picked anything up. I haven’t picked up any long-term commitment. I feel like both of them would be like, ‘Let’s see how this goes.’ I think that’s probably where they’re both coming from,” a sage Mike Knuble said. “It has nothing to do with anything. I think it’s pretty irrelevant for the players in that that’s management stuff.”
That was the general feeling around the locker room among players willing to at least address the reports by The Washington Times and 106.7 The Fan.
“It’s not my business. I’m here to play hockey. I’m not here to worry about contracts and things like that. He’s here to coach and we listen to him. He’s done a great job for us,” forward Matt Hendricks said. “I don’t know. I haven’t even thought about it, honestly.”
A few, like defenseman Karl Alzner, were first hearing about it from reporters.
“So what happened was, he just signed a contract just till the end of this year? Ok, yeah. I don’t know. I don’t really know how that stuff normally works,” Alzner said. “It’s tough to say. For all we know, maybe he wanted only the one year maybe for his own reasons. Who knows? Only he does.”
Goaltender Tomas Vokoun likened it to players’ contracts.
“I think it matters to you personally, but I don’t think it matters, for example, Joel Ward – it doesn’t matter for him if I’m on one-year deal,” he said. “I’m sure most guys, like with the coaches, it’s somebody else’s decisions. It really doesn’t matter.”