St Louis Blues v Washington Capitals

Milbury and Jones weigh in: “Did Boudreau have to go?” (Video)

NHL on NBC analysts Mike Milbury and Keith Jones took to the airwaves to weigh in on the question of the week in Washington: Did Bruce Boudreau need to be fired in Washington? Could the Capitals have turned it around and thrived under Boudreau or did the organization need to make a move to get the season back on the tracks?

Both hockey guys said he had to go… and they both say it’s because of Alexander Ovechkin.

Check it out and let us know in the comments if you agree with what they had to say:

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Milbury, Jones discuss how Alex Ovechkin will react to Dale Hunter

Dale Hunter, Alex Ovechkin
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It seems like the hockey world gets a chance to make a “final judgment” on Alex Ovechkin about two or three times per season. Ovechkin’s latest legacy-redefining moment could come now, as bellicose Bruce Boudreau makes way for former Washington Capitals great Dale Hunter. Mike Milbury and Keith Jones seem unanimous about Hunter’s ability to transition from the OHL to the greatest hockey league in the world, but what are the odds that Ovi will snap out of his relative funk?

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No more excuses for Ovechkin


If Alex Ovechkin was playing to get Bruce Boudreau fired, well, mission accomplished. But even if he wasn’t, the narrative going forward will be the same – Ovechkin is out of excuses.

Not happy with the coach? Fine, he’s gone. Now prove to everyone he was the problem, not you.

Capitals general manager George McPhee said firing Boudreau wasn’t about Ovechkin’s relationship with the coach – it was about the whole team not responding to the coach. But there’s only one superstar captain of the Capitals and that’s No. 8. If Ovechkin doesn’t start playing inspired hockey starting tomorrow versus the Blues, he’ll get crucified by the fans and media.

A man lost his job and you’re still loafing around the ice? No wonder the Capitals have never won the Stanley Cup. Their captain doesn’t care.

Fortunately for Ovechkin, Dale Hunter will do things differently than Boudreau. That’s why he was hired. Specifically what he’ll change remains to be seen, but he’d be foolish if he didn’t put Ovechkin in a position to succeed. Hunter coached some offensively-gifted London Knights teams. They were good defensively, too, but Patrick Kane didn’t score 145 points in 2006-07 with a leash around his neck.

Hunter won’t let Ovechkin do whatever he wants out there, but he has to know the Caps need their best player to start enjoying hockey again. There isn’t a player in the NHL that loves scoring goals more than Ovechkin. That’s what motivates him, and it’s up to the coach to exploit it.

After that, it’s up to Ovechkin.

Video: McPhee addresses media on Boudreau firing

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Washington Capitals GM George McPhee addressed the media this morning and answered questions about the firing of coaching Bruce Boudreau.

When asked why the move was made, McPhee was blunt, saying, “The players were no longer responding to Bruce.”

McPhee also shared his thoughts on Alex Ovechkin (firing Boudreau wasn’t just about one guy, it’s about the whole team not playing well) and Dale Hunter (he’ll be allowed to coach the way he coaches, but McPhee’s biggest concern about the Caps right now is a lack of defense.)

Here’s the full video:

Capitals fire Bruce Boudreau, name Dale Hunter new head coach

Bruce Boudreau

The Capitals were in desperate need of a change, and now they’ve got it. Bruce Boudreau is out as head coach, fired by the team this morning and replaced by former Capitals captain and tough guy Dale Hunter.

The move comes after speculation ran hot last night that a potential move was coming thanks to a report from Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos. Turns out Kypreos had it right and now the Capitals, who have been mired in an awful funk all season, will get the change they’ve been in need of since last season.

Hunter comes in in the same position Boudreau was in when he was named head coach of the Capitals years ago in that he’s never been a coach in the NHL. Instead, Hunter comes via junior hockey where he was the owner and head coach of the OHL’s London Knights. Much like Brent Sutter in Calgary, Hunter will put aside his ownership duties to coach in the NHL. Sutter is owner of the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL.

This time, however, Hunter comes into a situation where the Capitals absolutely have to get things turned around. Alex Ovechkin has slumped all season long and his scoring numbers have fallen off hard, Alex Semin leads the team in penalties rather than being anywhere near the top in goals, and the defense and goaltending have been sub-par to put it nicely. Hunter comes in with one designation from his playing days: He’s the one captain of the Capitals that led the team to a Stanley Cup finals appearance.

Adding to all that, the team just appeared to not enjoy playing hockey anymore. If Hunter coaches at all the same way as he played, business is about to pick up in a big way in D.C. One thing is for sure, Hunter’s got a lot of work to do get these Capitals back to normal. If a change at the top is all that they needed to make it happen, GM George McPhee will be the smartest guy in the world.