The Washington Post

Boswell: Dale Hunter stepping down seems out of character

View Photo Gallery: Dale Hunter has stepped down as Capitals head coach two days after Washington’s Game 7 loss in New York.

Post columnist Thomas Boswell was in the midst of his Monday morning chat when he caught wind of Dale Hunter’s decision to step down as Capitals head coach.

This was his immediate reaction:

Knock me over with a feather.
How can you be Dale Hunter, get everybody to "buy into" your brutally painful way of playing hockey, have some success with it and then QUIT!!!???
That's not what Dale Hunter does. Is it? That seems out of character. Doesn't he almost have to come back one more year to complete the transition to his methods, then help pick the coach to follow him?
Well, obviously not!!! GMGM is quoted on Twitter that it was a "tough decision" for Hunter not to come back.
Part of this is, no doubt, Hunter's comfort and success with the London Knights. But — don't know to what degree this will come out — many Caps were delighted to see the team's internal star system dying.
Would Leonsis/McPhee have to have — at some point — traded Ovechkin, to get maximum value for him — if it looked like Hunter was going to stay for years?
Was a Hunter-style team a scary thought for the Rock the Red full-house world? Hunter hockey, in regular season, would be semi-boring hockey.
If Hunter goes, who does McPhee get — and does the next coach follow Hunter's ideas? You'd think so. But then you still have the same Ovechkin problem. Is he wasted on that style team? Can he stay happy indefinitely being asked to block shots, cut minutes, focus on defense, not the next rush?
I now officially change my optimistic view of the end of the Caps season. It was progress, potentially big progress — if Hunter stayed and the Caps adopted  his personality.
Now, you've fired Boudreau, gotten knocked out in the second round again with Hunter, but you don't get to play out the Hunter story.
It's possible that there are still a few Caps that Hunter just doesn't want to have to live with every day of his life — beating his head and his ideas against theirs. So, he went home — to happiness. Let them work out their Caps misery on their own.
If you weren't miserable about the way the Caps season ended on Saturday night, then you probably are now.
One thing I'm sure of: the Caps can’t got back to the old run-and-gun days of the Young Guns. That is over. It was tried, and tried, and it failed every spring. 
That Caps "window of opportunity" — it probably just got narrower and shorter.
This should complete about as miserable a seven days in D.C. sports as I can remember.
Somebody put on extra security around RGIII.

Read the rest of Boswell’s chat here.


Dale Hunter steps down as Capitals coach

Boswell: Capitals lose series but gain an identity

Show Comments
Washington Post Subscriptions

Get 2 months of digital access to The Washington Post for just 99¢.

A limited time offer for Apple Pay users.

Buy with
Cancel anytime

$9.99/month after the two month trial period. Sales tax may apply.
By subscribing you agree to our Terms of Service, Digital Products Terms of Sale & Privacy Policy.

Get 2 months of digital access to The Washington Post for just 99¢.

Most Read
Read stories based on reporting for “Trump Revealed,” a broad, comprehensive biography of the life of the president-elect.


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing