When a team makes a coaching change -- and in Washington, that happens regularly -- they are looking for the missing spark that ultimately led to the change in the first place. The Washington Capitals were hoping for that when they fired Bruce Boudreau just days after Thanksgiving and replaced him with Dale Hunter. Yet, that spark has yet to be found.
Hunter has been criticized for his decision-making process, from scratching veterans (more on that later today) to undermining the confidence of his goaltenders. Yet, Hunter, like any coach, is judged by one thing.
"Win and losses," Hunter said before Tuesday's game. "You've got to get it done if you want to be a coach."
After 44 games -- most recently Tuesday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes -- Hunter has 20 wins. Meanwhile, Boudreau has 22 wins in 43 games with the Anaheim Ducks. While those numbers are essentially the same, there is a slight difference: Boudreau's 22 wins with the Ducks have resurrected them as they have gone from afterthoughts to one of many participants in a tight playoff race in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Hunter's 20 wins with the Caps have been good enough to simply keep them afloat in the East as they continue to struggle with four wins in their last 13 games.
Hunter made a lasting impression in Washington as a player, even having his No. 32 retired in the process. With 16 games remaining, it is time for Hunter to do the same as a coach. Otherwise, the prevailing judgment of his tenure will be one of failure.
Plan The Parade
No, I do not mean for the Caps. For the Redskins. Yes, I am as confused writing that sentence fragment as you probably are reading it.
See, the Indianapolis Colts will part ways with quarterback Peyton Manning Wednesday, thus making the former MVP and Super Bowl winner a free agent. Manning has been linked with the Redskins for some time now and when considering owner Dan Synder's penchant for throwing money at aging veterans, it seems like a match made in heaven. I can see it now...
A picture says one thousand words. Or in this case, hundreds of millions.
Adam Vingan is co-founder and editor of Kings Of Leonsis, a Caps-centric blog, and is the Capitals Editor for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_KOL and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.