Fantasy Impact: The Washington Capitals have fired their head coach Bruce Boudreau and have replaced him with former Capital Dale Hunter, who had been coach of OHL's London Knights.


Boudreau's style: Boudreau was a player's coach who preached a run-and-gun style. That is, up until two years ago. Last season he transformed into a coach who preached defense. The transition was a knee-jerk reaction to getting beat by a hot goaltender (Jaroslav Halak) and frankly I think that his run-and-gun style would have worked had he stuck with it longer. The defensive system had its ups and downs, but they were beaten soundly by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the postseason last spring. This brought on yet another coaching style change - one that stressed 'responsibility' and 'accountability'. It turned out to be too much change in too short a timeframe. The players stopped playing for him.


Hunter's style: Hunter was a gritty player and has the same coaching philosophy. As coach of the London Knights, he has spent much of the past 10 years managing the egos of some of the best players that the OHL has seen, including John Tavares, Patrick Kane, Sergei Kostitsyn, Sam Gagner, Nazem Kadri and Corey Perry. It fits Washington's needs.


The impact on key players


Alex Ovechkin - The desire, the fire will be back. Sorry folks, you "buy-low" window on this generational superstar has now closed. Should have made your move last week instead of twiddling your thumbs and humming and hawwing about whether he would be worth the asking price. He would have been.


Alexander Semin - Another player who will be happy with this move. Hunter won't put up with any laziness, so if the results aren't there early then Semin won't be sent to the press box - he'll just be traded. Either way, he's helping your fantasy squad.


Mike Green, John Carlson, Dennis Wideman - The domino effect starts here. If Ovechkin goes from a 70-point player to a 110-point player, the d-men on the PP benefit. Don't forget - Hunter coached Carlson in London, so if it came down to Wideman vs. Carlson for PP ice time, Carlson would win.


Nicklas Backstrom - Yes, there is room for more. Yes, you have to think that the numbers will reach new heights if he's playing with a superstar again.


Troy Brouwer/Mike Knuble - I really like ONE of these two players. Which one? Wish my crystal ball was working, but it's in the shop. But one of these two will win the Ovechkin-linemate lottery. Mark it!


Brooks Laich - Under the defensive system, he had become a steady 45-point player instead of a steady 60-point player. Now he is back to 60.


Marcus Johansson - A great two-way player who will get plenty of chances, but Hunter may need to make an example of somebody and I think it could be MJ. If so, he may eventually see some time in the minors - it would all depend on...


Mathieu Perreault - Hunter will really like this guy's go-go-go play. If Perreault brings his game, which is by no means a certainty, just 'likely', then Hunter will reward him. He has a real chance of stealing Johansson's spot on the ladder - for this year, not long-term.


Goaltending - I get the feeling we're in for a lot of 5-4 wins. So expect improved W's but inflated GAA. It's not that Hunter preaches run and gun. He doesn't. But the goals are going to come simply from the 'new and improved' Ovechkin. And I find that when teams score a lot, the other team opens up more and they score a lot too.




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Jeremy said:

Not buying the big jump in points I don't think Ovie will be a 110 point man this season or ever again, and the rest of guys won't see massive point gains. Ovie may hit 90, Backstrom the same, and Semin maybe 65. I don't want Ovie this season! Let's see how they do starting tonight!
November 29, 2011 | url
Votes: +0

UKflames said:

OV V BB I posted this in the forums but the Hunter now knows who runs this team and it isn't the coach, it is OV. He didn't like being responsible just wanted to pad his stats and when the new system didn't allow him to do that he sulked and refused to play just enough to get the coach fired.

I don't think this will be the last time we see this before he retires.
November 29, 2011
Votes: +0

Larry said:

boudreau I wasnt a Boudreau fan- and i agree 100% with dobber on how the change in systems was an overreaction, but i also agree with Ken Shultz below- with the run/gun system- the points will rack up once again, but I dont think this will necessarily lead to playoff success. There are too many selfish players on the Caps, and their skill alone can win them games, but when a team plays you back to back- your tendencies become all to obvious (something the Bruins learned about the Canucks powerplay last year). Bring on the regular season points (and exciting hockey) just dont bet on them going far in the playoffs (although atleast Vokoun could pull of his own version of Halak and steal a round for them?).
November 29, 2011
Votes: +0

Ken Shultz said:

BB Bye Bye? The sulking of the last few weeks (1 goal in 8 games Ovechkin?) might be over, but long term?

If Ovechkin's attitude was part of the problem, and Boudreau benching him for it and calling him out for it was the solution? Then firing the coach because of Ovechkin and company's sulking can't be the solution too.

I went to my first Caps game as a little kid in 1975. Between then and now, I've seen it go about as low as it can go. I'll still be a fan long after Ovechkin's retired.

But I don't see how this improves things for Caps players beyond the next few weeks. There was a power struggle going on between Ovechkin and Boudreau--Ovechkin winning that battle just wasn't what was needed in that locker room.

Oh, and regarding the goaltending situation? Isn't Holtby a bigger threat to take starts away from Neuvirth now?
November 28, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

... SK - bang on with your analysis. Couldn't agree more. Other than you saying I'm on his bandwagon and need getting off - that part was wrong. But he is a tweener and he was definitely passed by Eakin and Johansson. But if you come to me for an opinion, it is this - I don't think Johansson has as high an upside as Perreault and I don't think Johansson has taken enough advantage of the multitude of chances that he has had. Hunter won't put up with that. MJ is far from "consistent". Whereas, what tiny chances Perreault gets, he takes full advantage. I could be wrong, as with all predictions of future performance. But my analysis and evaluation leads me to this conclusion.

Eakin throws in wrench in things for both players so it may make things moot.
November 28, 2011
Votes: +0

slufoot said:

... Amen SK. I don't see Perreault as a Hunter type of guy at all. He likes small players with elite skill, not small players who are go-getters.

Laich and Green methinks will see drops in value - both were HUGE favourites of Boudreau. I doubt Laich sees 20:00/game under Hunter like he was getting. And both Carlson and Wideman are former Knights - coupled with being more responsible defensively and Orlov's emergence it could signal Green's ticket out of town.
November 28, 2011
Votes: -1

steve laidlaw said:

John Carlson/Dale Hunter - London Knights Connection I posted this in the forums as well but watch out for this. Hunter knows what Carlson can do considering Carlson put up 76 points in 59 games for Hunter in his lone OHL season. I can't see Carlson being split up from his defense partner, Karl Alzner but he could have the leash taken off and be allowed to jump into the rush more often. This is where Carlson excels and since Alzner is so defensively sound it makes sense to have him hanging back when Carlson rushes up.

With Green still out Carlson could also see an increase in his power play time (currently 1:56 per game) and could be a big winner if Hunter uses him as he did in London.
November 28, 2011
Votes: -1

SK said:

What? Get off the Perreault bandwagon. He is a tweener and has been passed by Johansson and Cody Eakin. No idea why you would think MJ would be made an example of considering he has been one of the teams most consistent players all year.
November 28, 2011
Votes: -1

steve said:

... BULL! I am tired of hearing about these hockey players under preforming and blaming the coach. Keep the coach and get players who want to play! Poor OV ... NOT! Why waste your time washington... oh yah its about money!!
November 28, 2011
Votes: -1

Killer67 said:

Caps Scoring As an Ovechkin owner, I'll believe it when I see it.
November 28, 2011
Votes: +0

Knuckles said:

10th rounder
Goalies? Who does Hunter anoint #1?
November 28, 2011
Votes: +1
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