Photo credit: Chris Gordon
Tuesday afternoon was a busy time for ex-Capitals coaches, as Dale Hunter was officially re-hired to be the London Knights head coach and long-time assistant Dean Evason was hired by the man who originally drafted him into the NHL, David Poile, to coach the Milwaukee Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators.
Photo credit: Rob Carr
Warning: You’re about to read statistics from someone who can’t keep score at Scrabble.
The Washington Capitals started their season with a 7-game winning streak. They were the talk of the league, a team made of smiles and wins.
They would go on to lose 12 of their next 18 games, their head coach, and their confidence. As of game 25, the Capitals are in a three-way tie for 8th in the Eastern Conference. For perspective, the players on the 9th place team usually get started on their suntans a little earlier than everyone else.
This article takes a look at the numbers behind the Caps season to date to try and give its schizophrenia some context. I’ll look at shots on goal, save percentage, puck possession, power play, and penalty kill.
Because with all of the opinions about why the Caps have fell so far (many I’ve posited myself), I owe you guys some objective assessment without the usual bluster or pageantry.
Two days after re-joining the Capitals as head coach, Dale Hunter made his first big change by naming Jim Johnson as an assistant late Tuesday night. Johnson — a former bruising NHL defenseman who played in 829 career games (121 as a Cap) — will replace Bob Woods who was in his third year with the team. Johnson accumulated over 100 penalty minutes in seven of his 13 seasons in the NHL and has coached before. During the 2009-10 season, he was an assistant with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He then took over the head coaching position mid-season for the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals putting up a 15-5-0-2 record in 22 games. With the Capitals’ defense floundering and ranked 28th in the league in goals against, the move certainly makes sense.
The most interesting part of the hire, however, is the fact that Hunter and Johnson actually fought each other twice during their NHL careers. Hockeyfights.com has video of their second bout from November 18, 1992 which I’ve embedded above. Hunter brutalizes Johnson in the scuffle landing eight-straight punches before the fight is broken up by the linesmen. Boys will be boys.
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