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Capitals fire Bob Woods, hire Jim Johnson to coach defense

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The Washington Capitals dipped into their past for coach Dale Hunter earlier in the week and went back to that well to make a change on his staff.

The team announced late Tuesday night the hiring of ex-NHL defenseman Jim Johnson to coach the Caps’ defense, and subsequently the firing of Bob Woods, who previously held that position.

“Good for Jimmy,” ex-teammate Peter Bondra said in a phone interview. “I know he play honest game, and I remember him as a real solid defenseman and really always prepare himself for a game well and he carry himself well with the way he plays.”

Johnson’s most recently job in hockey was as coach of the Norfolk Admirals for 22 games in the 2009-10 season, going 15-5-0-2. 

Johnson, 49, played 121 of his 829 NHL games with the Caps, including part of the 1993-94 season and all of the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.

On Monday, Hunter was noncommittal about the staff when asked about changes and whether he was going to lean on them in the early stages of his tenure.

“We haven’t talked about that but definitely we’re going to lean on them,” Hunter said. “They know the league better. I will do whatever it takes.”

George McPhee had confirmed in a text message Monday that the coaching staff would remain in place. But that changed after another loss, the Caps’ ninth in 12 games.

Woods joined the Caps’ staff at the start of the 2009-10 season. Previously, he succeeded Bruce Boudreau as coach of the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears. 




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