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Brooks Laich tried to convince Dale Hunter to stay as Washington Capitals coach. He joked that Hunter could have his house and he'd move into an apartment if that was necessary.
Even as he's immersed in the Washington Capitals' playoff run, Dale Hunter has kept an eye on the London Knights, the junior team he co-owns along with his brother Mark. When the Caps beat the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the first-round playoff series, Hunter smiled when told the Knights won, too.
A team so often draws its mood from its coach, so it wasn't surprising in previous years to see the Washington Capitals tighten up when Bruce Boudreau was under pressure. The highs were high when Boudreau got fired up, and the lows were low when the results didn't match lofty expectations.
Consider Monday night's Game 2 in a vacuum without consideration of salary, reputation or statistics, and Alex Ovechkin's numbers made him look like a clutch third-liner and power-play specialist.
It's all there in black and white, spiral-bound behind a cover with the line, "London Knights — 'A Tradition of Excellence.' " Eighty-six pages of the Knights' recruiting guide handed to prospective players, detailing everything from dress codes, game schedules and curfews to local media coverage and schools.
Like-thinking brothers Dale and Mark Hunter have grown the London Knights franchise over the past 10 years thanks to their shared work ethic cultivated growing up on a farm and shared passion for hockey.
On the morning of Nov. 28, it didn't take more than a couple of hours after the Washington Capitals announced the firing of Bruce Boudreau and the hiring of Dale Hunter until the Carolina Hurricanes made their coaching change.
Dale Hunter likes it when the Washington Capitals block shots. He likes it when the London Knights, his Ontario Hockey League team, block shots. He's all about sacrificing the body and paying the price.