When Dale Hunter took over the helm of the Washington Capitals for the fired Bruce Boudreau late last month, it was generally assumed that he would have a nice, long run as head coach of the team he used to play for.
Sky Kerstein of 106.7 The Fan reported late Wednesday afternoon that Hunter is actually working on a one-year contract that runs through the end of this season. Kerstein says that as a result of the one-year deal, the Capitals would have flexibility to pursue a new coach if Hunter can't turn the team around this year. Hunter, for his part, would be ensured a contractually easy exit if he decides to return to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, a team that Hunter coached before coming to D.C. and still co-owns.
It's easy to see the Capitals jettisoning Hunter if the star-laden club doesn't make the playoffs (they're currently ninth in the Eastern Conference, one point out of the last playoff spot). But what if the Capitals make the playoffs before bowing out in a hard-fought, seven-game second-round series? Hunter and General Manager George McPhee would have quite a decision to make then, and it's one that we wouldn't envy.