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Latest Dale Hunter Items
In late October, it looked like Jay Beagle's season would be measured by Arron Asham's right fist and the ensuing concussion suffered in a fight. By mid-May, Beagle's season was the shining example of what worked for the Washington Capitals with Dale Hunter hockey.
When Nicklas Backstrom missed 40 games last season, the Washington Capitals called on Mathieu Perreault to help fill that hole. When no moves were made at the trade deadline, the Caps called on Jay Beagle to become a shutdown center.
Each coach the Washington Capitals have hired in recent years has brought something different to the table. Bruce Boudreau made a moribund club exciting by teaching it, in almost Don Coryell fashion, to Unleash the Offensive Fury. Dale Hunter was brought in last November to instill toughness and responsibility, and the Caps' gritty play in the postseason suggests they've progressed in that area.
The Washington Capitals were on the clock to find a new coach since May 14. They needed a replacement for Dale Hunter, but general manager George McPhee was in no rush.
Once again, a Washington Capitals leadership baton is passed from Dale Hunter to Adam Oates.
Everyone knew the Washington Capitals needed a different approach when Dale Hunter announced he wasn't returning. Defensive, shot-blocking hockey had some success, and Bruce Boudreau's previous style of run-and-gun hockey had a little, too.
The wait may the hardest part for Washington Capitals fans, but not for general manager George McPhee as he goes through the process of finding the next coach. He's been patient since Dale Hunter confirmed he wasn't coming back.
Dean Evason this week took the job at the helm of the Milwaukee Admirals, the Nashville Predators' American Hockey League affiliate, after a seven-year stint as an assistant coach for the Washington Capitals. It's the next step for him to become an NHL coach, though he would have loved to get that chance with the Caps.
George McPhee didn't reveal much last week about his preferences for the upcoming NHL draft, but he did admit this pool is deeper at defenseman than at forward.