NEW YORK | In the moments after the Washington Capitals’ season came to an abrupt end after another one-goal loss to the New York Rangers in Game 7, coach Dale Hunter was not in any mood to address his future.
“That’s not the time right now,” he said when asked if he had considered coming back.
Hunter, who signed a contract through the end of this season when he took over for Bruce Boudreau on Nov. 28, has a comfortable job as owner and president of the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, where he also served as coach. He has not shown his hand one way or the other about whether he’d return to the Caps next season.
While this season had tumult and ups and downs, reaching the playoffs and getting to Game 7 against the Rangers was a validation of Hunter’s style, which kept the Caps in every game.
“He’s obviously done a good job with our club here. We were counted out of even the first round and here we are in Game 7, we ended up losing,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “But I think he did a good job. I think he’s a good presence behind the bench and I’m sure whatever it is will work itself out.”
Asked earlier this week if he wanted Hunter back, forward Brooks Laich was emphatic.
“Why wouldn’t I? Absolutely. He’s been great,” Laich said. “I don’t have anything to do with that. I’m not concerned about that right now.”
Even after falling short in the series loss to the Rangers, Hunter said he enjoyed this run.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “You know, coaching’s the next best thing to playing, and to be involved in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s a privilege to try to take a run at it again.”