For the second time in four years, the Washington Capitals fired a coach in late November. Owner Ted Leonsis and his son Zachary were in attendance for Monday’s practice, Dale Hunter’s first at the helm.
Leonsis’ spokesman, Kurt Kehl, said the owner would not address reporters Monday, or probably even Tuesday. The idea was to let the hockey people speak for the hockey decisions, namely George McPhee, Hunter and the players.
But Leonsis did weigh in on the firing of Bruce Boudreau and hiring of Hunter on his blog Monday.
“It’s never easy to let a coach go, and Bruce was a popular personality who helped turn around our franchise,” Leonsis wrote. “Despite what transpired on the ice this year, I always will be thankful for Bruce’s time with the Capitals and will remember him fondly.”
Boudreau went 201-88-40 as Caps coach in the regular season and 17-20 in the playoffs.
Hunter, who has no NHL experience but shining numbers with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, got only one real mention in the post, as Leonsis promised more on the ex-captain later.
“Dale was a tenacious player and great leader,” he wrote. “The reins are his, and we are here to support him.”
And as much as there was excitement among the fan base over Hunter, this was a chance to appreciate Boudreau’s additions to hockey in Washington.
“He not only won games but also created a tremendous brand awareness for us locally as well as nationally and even internationally. I am very grateful. Bruce was instrumental in the team’s success over the last four seasons,” Leonsis wrote. “He is a good man. Thank you for four great years.”