Before the Capitals were eliminated, forward Brooks Laich emphatically declared he wanted coach Dale Hunter back behind the bench next season.
“Why wouldn’t I?” said Laich. “Absolutely. He’s been great.”
So that’s one Washington player we can assume wasn’t thrilled to hear that Hunter won’t be sticking around.
Another player we can put in the disappointed category is star center Nicklas Backstrom.
“I really wanted to see him back next year but unfortunately he’s not,” said Backstrom, as per the Washington Post. “It’s not good.”
Alex Ovechkin might not be so broken up with the news. The Caps’ captain was forced to take on a reduced role during the playoffs, something he admitted wasn’t the easiest thing to accept. That said, he did acknowledge he “learned a lot” from Hunter.
“It doesn’t matter if I like it or not, because he’s my coach and I have to listen,” Ovechkin said. “How he said, you have to be a plumber. So I was a plumber.”
Hunter briefly touched on his relationship with Ovechkin in today’s news conference, as per CSNWashington.com.
“Definitely we had player-coach talk, like don’t pressure on yourself, it’s a team a game out here and we need everyone to play,” said Hunter. “Everybody needs to do the little things to win and that’s how we were able to battle a great team.”