Report: Hunter steps down as Washington head coach

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According to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, Dale Hunter is done in Washington.

That’s the rumor du jour as the former NHLer and current analyst tweeted the news just minutes ago. Kypreos, a friend and former teammate of Hunter, was one of the first to break the news that Hunter would replace Bruce Boudreau as the Capitals head coach back in November.

If Hunter does step down, it’d be surprising and unsurprising at the same time. He was on a one-year deal in Washington and there was much speculation he’d taken the job mostly as a favor to Caps GM George McPhee. Hunter is heavily invested in his OHL club in London — which he and brother Mark own, manage and coach — and has turned the Knights into one of the premier junior clubs in the world.

That said, it’s hard to fathom Hunter walking away after the postseason he’s had. The Capitals entered the playoffs as the East’s No. 7 seed but proceeded to upset the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins in Round 1, before pushing top-seeded New York to seven games in Round 2.

Update

McPhee has informed the media that Hunter is indeed leaving his post.

“It was a very, very difficult decision for him,” McPhee told the Washington Post. “We love everything about Dale. We were delighted he could come in and spend six months with us. He really taught the club the ‘how’ of winning.”