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Ted Leonsis Says He Would Have Retained Dale Hunter If Former Capitals Coach Wanted To Stay

Kudos to Mike Wise of The Washington Post for scoring a very involved in-person/email interview with Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis (and kudos to the Post for putting the whole thing online rather than merely picking out the best bits for print).

Our colleague Mike Prada of Bullets Forever broke down the aspects of the interview that related to the Wizards over there, and we strongly recommend you read that, too. But Leonsis does own another team in this town and he made a few points about the Capitals that jumped out at us.

Leonsis wisely kept silent about the NHL labor strife, as well as the free agent status of Alexander Semin, but when it came to the departure of Dale Hunter and the hiring of Adam Oates as the team's head coach.

George McPhee and Dick Patrick hired Adam Oates as they hired Dale Hunter. They run hockey ops.

That was a part of one of Leonsis' email responses. A little ways up in the transcript, here's Leonsis on the decision-making process surrounding the return of Wizards coach Randy Wittman.

In our case, with Randy, I did the exit interviews.

And then, the questions about Dale Hunter come up.

Q. Was Dale's tight-lipped personality, his seemingly uncomfortable nature in front of a microphone and his inability to really communicate at times with his players, cut-out for the position of a long-term NHL coach?

A. Dale was a great coach. I am grateful that he came in mid season to help us and we went to game 7 of second round so he had a successful season..He developed our team with a much more responsible defensive posture. It was apparent though by his actions at season end that he wasn't happy being away from home and his family. When someone really says " I want to go home"; how can you be mad?

Q. And given his limiting of minutes with Alex, would you have definitely retained him if he wanted to stay?

A. Yes.

Some interesting contrasts in Leonsis' level of involvement between the two franchises there. We're not implying anything malignant about this setup, understand. We just find it interesting.

And the admission that Hunter would have been brought back if he had taken a shine to being an NHL coach, well, that opens up a whole other "what-if" game.