BALLSTON, Va. - Washington Capitals head coach Dale Hunter has had some of his recent decisions roundly criticized, from his decision to scratch Mike Knuble for three consecutive games to candidly voicing his opinion on Michal Neuvirth's recent play.
Olaf Kolzig, Washington's associate goalie coach and Hunter's former teammate from 1989-1999, showed his support for Hunter while speaking with reporters Wednesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
"He's a old school, no-nonsense kind of guy," Kolzig said of Hunter. "He gave up a pretty lucrative, successful stint down in London [of the Ontario Hockey League] to chase the one thing that's eluded him: a Stanley Cup. He's coming in here, he's got nothing to lose. He wants to do everything possible to put the team in a position to win a Stanley Cup. Sometimes you make decisions as a coach that are unpopular."
Kolzig, who mentioned that Hunter was under contract for one year, confirming a report that came out earlier this season, also said that while some of Hunter's decisions may draw the ire of his players and the team's fans, it will be a moot point if the Caps are successful.
"As a coach, you're going to bruise some egos, going to hurt some feelings, but that's what he believes in," Kolzig said. "If that's what it's going to take to get this team close to winning a Stanley Cup, I think at the end of the day, if that happens, all those unpopular decisions will all of a sudden look pretty smart."