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Who should replace Hunter behind the bench?


Who should replace Hunter behind the bench?

So now that Dale Hunter has decided to return to his junior hockey team in London, Ontario, who might be his replacement as the Capitals new head coach and how quickly will general manager George McPhee fill the position?
My job now is to find the best human talent I can find to coach this club, McPhee said. We might have someone in place by the draft. It might take me until August, like it did with New Jersey last year. We'll see.
I'm not in any rush to begin a coaching search because I haven't really been thinking in those terms. I don't know whether it'll be by the draft or sometime in August, like New Jersey did. We're going to take our time and get the right person.
McPhee said he has not yet begun to think about whether hell choose a coach who plays a similar system to the one implemented by Hunter or one who will cater more to Alex Ovechkins offensive attributes.
Coaches have different systems, and there are different ways to play the game, he said. But the most important thing is to have a team buy into whatever system you're playing. You can play four or five different systems. It's having people buy into that system and that's the beauty of being a good coach -- having players buy in and become a team.
Heres a short list of candidates to replace Hunter:
Craig Berube: An assistant coach in Philadelphia, Berube was a fan favorite as a player in Washington and has said he would leave the Flyers only for a head coaching position. Berube is a close friend of Hunters and has a similar no-nonsense approach with his players. He was a head coach in the AHL and plays a more aggressive forechecking system that caters to Ovechkins strengths.
Adam Oates: Another former Capital and fan favorite, Oates is an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils and considered one of the brightest assistants in the NHL. He and head coach Peter DeBoer have done an excellent job developing Ilya Kovalchuk into a multi-dimensional player capable of kill penalties as well as scoring goals. That would be his challenge with Ovechkin.
Paul Maurice: Having had two stints with the Carolina Hurricanes and one with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Maurice knows the Capitals well and is one of the most experienced in the field, but he has no real history with George McPhee.
Marc French: As head coach of the AHL Hershey Bears the past three years, French helped develop John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Dmitry Orlov and Braden Holtby. French has no NHL experience, but neither did McPhees last three head coaches Glen Hanlon, Bruce Boudreau and Hunter.
John Hynes: Like French, Hynes has no NHL experience, but is considered a Dan Bylsma protg as head coach of the Penguins farm team in Wilkes-BarreScranton. He was named AHL coach of the year last season.
Ron Wilson: He was the last coach to get the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998 and has served as head coach in Anaheim, San Jose and Toronto. Wilson is the most experienced coach in the open market and is very familiar with both Hunter and McPhee.

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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.