Posts tagged: Dale Hunter

Dale Hunter: “To Win” Or Reading Too Much Into “We”

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Question (not sure who asked): How far do you think this team is from winning the Stanley Cup?

Dale Hunter: Yeah you know some long it’s it’s the right way to play and you know and, ah, you know to to win and and ah that’s what you have to play it and you know it’s ah next year we’ll you know you can you can always start off and ah that’s your goal to win.

The Long, Long, Long Ride

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I had always wanted to be at one of those marathon (this is the word everyone agreed to use, right?)  multiple overtime NHL playoff games. I always figured that if it was at one and the Washington Capitals were playing, the Caps would, you know, lose because Capitals. This left me prepared, so it was easier to accept the outcome. Karl Alzner may have a had harder time, though.

The toughest time I had last night was watching the girl sitting in front of us. She was bouncy. Very bouncy. Not like a bouncy personality (well, I don’t know, maybe she does…I just don’t know her), but physically bouncy. Bouncy in her seat. Bouncy while standing. It was as if she could not contain herself.

When my youngest daughter was four years old, she would run in a circle through the kitchen, living room, dining room, and foyer screaming at the top of her lungs, “I CAN’T STOP! I CAN’T STOP!” and she couldn’t. Bouncy Girl last night reminded me of her. She blocked our view, was distracting, and not someone I would willing chose to sit behind (and be afraid to sit in front of lest she spill her beer). We asked Bouncy Girl a couple times to not lean so much and everything. We could tell she tried, but just couldn’t manage. It was different than the Masshole Boston Bruins fans two weeks ago. We wanted to see the game, but we were also being entertained by the show she was putting on. It was quite bizarre. Then, as the overtimes melted into more overtimes, she lost some steam and turned into the Not Quite As Bouncy Girl. It was alright.

For the broader Semifinals series, I’m a little surprised at how optimistic I am after that loss. Over the past year or two, almost every time the Capitals have taken a lead in a game there has been a tension in the air that, somehow, the Capitals would find a way to cough up that lead. For the few years before that, when the Capitals were playing dynamic, exciting hockey, being down a couple goals was never a worry. The Young Guns carried the air of “We got this,” and would pull out super exciting finished on a regular basis. Never any worry.

It’s probably just me, but that feels like the feeling in the air again. The current Dale Hunter brand hockey sure isn’t exciting like the Bruce Boudreau era, but what we want are wins, right? At least in the playoffs. So the Capitals are down 2-1 in the series. Braden Holtby and Matt Hendricks and everyone else last night sure were playing with the “Don’t worry, I got this” attitude.

Or maybe I’m just fooling myself.

To read more stuff about the game, you know where to go: Russian Machine, Japer’s Rink, District Sports Page, Ed Frankovic, and On Frozen Blog. Unfortunately, it looks like the box score was too big for Capitals Outsider to handle, so none of that. :(

A benefit of being late to post photos is that others have had a chance to post theirs. Check out Cheryl’s, Tom’s and Jen’s photos. And look at mine below or on flickr.

Hearing About Yelling

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Way back when in ought-eight, ought-nine, when the Washington Capitals trailed by a couple goals, there was never any worry about whether they’d come back, only about who was going to be credited with the goal…and who are we kidding? It was almost always Alex Ovechkin unless it was overtime, in which case it would be Mike “Game Over” Green. It always worked out. Until April or May, at least. This season, though, and much of last season, holding a two goal lead is stressful as the wonder is focused on if they’re going to hold it, blow it, and how close it will be.

Last night was more of the latter, but a little of the former. The Capitals had to win in this game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They had the lead, they fell behind and Ovechkin won it in overtime. Of course, this was in a game against a goalie making his first NHL career start and suffering from what sounds like a pretty nasty case of dehydration. He was visibly off late in the third period and overtime, most noticeably during stops in play where it looked like he was holding onto the goal for support to keep standing. But whatever it takes, a win is a win. Unfortunately, it may be game over for green for a little while after the hit he laid on Brett Connolly, but that’s beside the point.

The theme of the night seems to have been yelling. Coach Dale Hunter yelled at the Capitals in the second intermission. Green was yelling from the bench, Dennis Wideman was yelling when shooting, and Ovi was yelling after he scored. And when was the last time we saw him jump into the glass like that after scoring? Personally, I’ve missed seeing that.

You know where to go to really read about the game, and it ain’t here. It’s over at places like Ed Frankovic, On Frozen Blog, Russian Machine, Japer’s Rink, District Sports Page and such. I have some photos below and on flickr.

Winning Is So Much Better Than Losing

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It took three tries and they made it interesting, but just twelve seconds into overtime, Brooks Laich and the Washington Capitals finally gave Dale Hunter his first victory as an NHL coach by beating the Ottawa Senators. Upon leaving Verizon Center, my friend and I were agreeing that winning is so much better losing. Lets hope it continues. And let’s hope the ice doesn’t suck so much in the future, too.

Read about the game at Russian Machine, Japer’s Rink, and Ed Frankovic. See my photos below or on flickr.

Ovechkin Can’t Shake the Blues

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Even though it was Dale Hunter’s debut as the new coach of the Washington Capitals, all I could think about on the way home was the blinding visibility of Alex Ovechkin’s frustration standing in stark contrast to the chants of “OH-vie! OH-vie!” we heard for the first time this season just last week.

On Frozen Blog posed the question late last night “has Hunter solved the Ovi/breakaway frustration?” Despite a first period assist we got to see him spin around killing the air with his stick at the end of one shift where he couldn’t make anything happen. A little more than five minutes into the third period he ended another shift skating back to the bench screaming an obscenity loud enough to be clearly heard in the 200 level on the south side of the Verizon Center. Then, just in case we couldn’t hear it the first time, he yelled it again. That seems more Great Frustrate than Great 8 to me.

Hopefully, things turn around soon. As a ticket buying fan, I miss the fun. A lot. Of course, pretty much everything gets forgiven if we’re still going to games in June. In the words of Joe Strummer, “On the road to rock ‘n’ roll, there’s a lot of wreakage [sic] in the ravine.”

You all know where to go to read about all the game, what went right and what didn’t. On Frozen Blog, Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine, Ed Frankovic, District Sports Page, and so on. My photos are below and on flickr.

“Yikes and Wow”

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“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:

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