“Yikes and wow.” That was the text my wife sent me when told that Bruce Boudreau had been fired as the Washington Capitals head coach and was being replaced with Dale Hunter.
Something has seemed very wrong with the team for a while and even a fan without a clue like me knew that something had to change.
For whatever faults he may have as a coach, Boudreau is one of the people that got me to pony up for my first season tickets near the end of that amazing run at the end of the 2007-08 season. It was that all offense, all of the time, having fun scoring goals brand of hockey. . Early on in Washington, he said something like, “It’s okay if you give up 4 or 5 goals as long as you score 6 or 7,” didn’t he?
The day I bought those tickets for the 2008-09 season was the day that Alex Ovechkin scored his 65th goal of the season, and I happened to have a ticket for that game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The games back then were so fun to watch because it looked like the team was having fun playing the game. It was infectious. It doesn’t look like it’s been there for a while.
Does anyone remember the last time Ovechkin jumped into the glass after a goal?
Where is this team? The one that celebrated every goal scored like it was the most wonderful thing that ever happened? I miss that team.
It’s not as fun going to games and watching guys with the talent and skill the Capitals players have playing a trap, an umbrella power play that keeps a motionless puck on the perimeter when they’re not losing zone, won’t shoot and can’t score. It’s not as fun, but it’s tolerable if it brings wins. When the losses keep mounting, though, and the losses are coming in bunches with scores of 4-1, 6-3, 7-1 and so on… Losses that are enough to bring a child to tears (even if they took place last year).
But there were those far out fantastic games under Boudreau, too. I’ll miss them. I will miss him. The image I have of him, from his foul mouth in HBO’s “24/7,” to his fascination with ice cream (also from “24/7”), to his unkempt appearance, sense of humor and everything is one that I can easily identify with. I am really going to miss him. I wish him well and all the success possible…except when his future teams are play the Capitals.
So, Dale Hunter, eh? There’s a guy that knows how to unleash some fury. Let’s hope that’s infectious, too.
Some of my photos with Boudreau from this season and last:
This photo is from less than a year ago. Four of the nine guys are no longer here.
These three are from last Friday when the Capitals were getting beaten up by the New York Rangers. They tell some kind of story.
A few more photos of Bruce Boudreau behind the Capitals bench: