The Washington Capitals officially announced that they fired head coach Bruce Boudreau early Monday morning. His replacement, Dale Hunter, may be a fresh face behind a NHL bench, but he is far from new when it comes to being a member of this franchise.
Hunter's number, 32, hangs from the Verizon Center rafters. In 12 seasons with Washington, Hunter scored 181 goals and accumulated 2,122 penalty minutes. In fact, Hunter is the only player in NHL history to scored 1,000 goals and amass 3,000 penalty minutes. He also captained the Caps during their only trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 1998, a 4-0 sweep to the Detroit Red Wings.
Recently, Hunter has spent the last decade-plus coaching the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights, a team that he also served as co-owner, president and general manager of. He reached 300 and 400 wins in the OHL faster than any coach in league history and led the Knights to the Memorial Cup in 2004-05. His OHL coaching record of 451-189-23-24 has the highest winning percentage (.691) in league history.
While with London, Hunter coached current Caps John Carlson and Dennis Wideman as well as NHL stars Rick Nash, Corey Perry, John Tavares and Patrick Kane, so he understands how to mold superstars, something that may have been the final nail in Boudreau's coffin.
Hunter will make his NHL coaching debut Tuesday at Verizon Center against the St. Louis Blues.