The Capitals have fired Bruce Boudreau and replaced him with NHL alum and first-time head coach Dale Hunter.
It’s the same sort of surprise when you fall out of a tree hit the ground. It was probably inevitable, but you’re still a little shocked to find that this is the time. You thought it might take longer, maybe the laws of gravity would alter. Maybe someone would catch you.
Let me preface this with an Unpopular Hockey Opinion:
I strongly dislike Alex Ovechkin.
Obviously I have some kind of Mike Green-and-geography induced Stockholm Syndrome going on that makes me a Caps fan. And Ovi can be an electric player whose raw talent raises the game of his teammates. I can’t say I hate him. But I think his lackadaisical attitude permeates the Caps and makes his teammates salmon swimming upstream against the blahs. Except Semin, who busts out his inner tube and cruises the Lazy River.
Now, before Dawn calls in a hit on me, this is not permanent. Ovi shows flashes of greatness that have nothing to do with the way he scores – he can lead this team. Most nights he simply chooses not to. And that’s why BB had to go – he couldn’t lead Ovi. Ovi’s contract and personality make him more powerful than the head coach. Or at least they did.
So while I generally despise the firing of head coaches to shake up teams, I think GMGM made the correct and necessary move here. If Dale Hunter comes in with a take-no-shit attitude, he could zip this team into the superhero suit they should be wearing. Ovi made BB look bad. This is what happens to people who make Hunter look bad:
I am also in favor of taking the C from Ovi. If you’re making waves, might as well make ‘em big. I believe the C belongs to the hardest working guy on a team – not necessarily the highest profile or most prolific scorer. I don’t recall anyone ever saying that about Ovi. (Hate on Crosby all you want, but….) Brooks Laich or Mike Knuble seem like better candidates to me. And it would send a clear message that Hunter and McPhee lead this team, not The Usually, Mostly, If He Feels Like It Great 8. Piss him off. Make Ovi earn the C back and he’d be unstoppable.
PS: I know there are more issues with the Caps that just Ovi, but I believe in trickle-down solutions.