Veteran winger Mike Knuble voiced his displeasure with being a healthy scratch for three consecutive games and 23-year-old goaltender Michal Neuvirth was disappointed that the staff didn’t communicate with him and let him know he wouldn’t be starting on Monday against San Jose.
When associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig spoke with reporters on Wednesday, he was asked whether the Capitals as a group will need to adjust to Coach Dale Hunter’s blunt approach.
Kolzig, who played with Hunter for parts of eight seasons, said Washington’s bench boss doesn’t care whether his decisions make him popular. His full comments follow.
“He’s old school, no-nonsense kind of guy. He gave up a pretty lucrative, successful stint down in London to chase the one thing that’s eluded him is a Stanley Cup,” Kolzig said of his former teammate. “He’s coming in here, he’s got nothing to lose. He’s only got a one-year contract, 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.
“Fortunately, I’m the goalie coach so I don’t become unpopular quite as often as Dale does,” Kolzig continued. “That’s part of the position. As popular as he was as a player... he goes by a certain philosophy.
“As a coach, you’re going to bruise some egos, going to hurt some feelings but that’s what he believes in. 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.”
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