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.
In his exit meetings almost a year ago, Brooks Laich sat down with the Washington Capitals coaching staff and mapped out some of what he thought needed to change. He suggested one player who deserved a bigger role the following season — Jay Beagle.
Sweat dripped from Nicklas Backstrom's hair just minutes after he stepped off the ice following some tiring battle drills with Washington Capitals teammate Jay Beagle. It was another step in Backstrom's preparation to return to game action after missing almost three months with a concussion.
Mike Green flew to St. Louis to have sports hernia surgery because the Washington Capitals had a lot of familiarity with Dr. Michael Brunt.
It was the best elbow to the head Jay Beagle ever received.
Switching coaches on the fly in the middle of a season presents plenty of challenges. Dale Hunter has made changes to just about everything since taking over the Washington Capitals on Nov. 28 — perhaps none with more of a tactical difference than on defense.
There was something about the penalty kill in the infancy of Dale Hunter's time as Washington Capitals coach that seemed different. While there have been changes in other parts of the Capitals' game, the penalty kill has had more aggression to it despite being the same. And it has been a marked improvement.
Alexander Semin stood by himself along the boards while his Washington Capitals teammates did line rushes at Saturday's morning skate. He stayed out on the ice with the young guys — Mathieu Perreault and Cody Eakin — well after everyone else jumped off.