Live blog: McPhee’s news conference on firing Bruce Boudreau, hiring Dale Hunter
By Lindsay Applebaum
We’ll provide live updates of Capitals General Manager George McPhee’s news conference, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Updates are below in reverse chronological order:
— That’s all for now. We’ll have much more today on all things Caps, so keep checking back. Tom Boswell is chatting now.
— McPhee said he was considering hiring Hunter for about a week now.
— Will Alex Ovechkin be stripped of the captaincy? “That’s not gonna happen.”
— Has McPhee talked to Ovechkin about the coaching change? “No, I’ve talked to the team.”
— On Boudreau seemingly losing the room: “Sometimes it just wears out. ... I’ve seen it before with other coaches. Sometimes like having the same teacher for five years... So you make the change and hope that a new voice and a new way of doing things and a new focus gets the best out of these players.”
— Hunter will need to focus on defense, McPhee says. “We’re just giving up too many goals.”
— Boudreau and McPhee met at 6:15 a.m. “He said the right things and he made me feel better about the decision.”
— McPhee said coaches have a short shelf life and it has to be accepted. “The league is so competitive that it requires a lot... Bruce emptied the tank, he gave it everything, he pushed every button he could push.”
— Dale Hunter “knows two things, farming and hockey. And he’s really good at both.” Ooookay.
— “We’ve talked consistently over 12 years; I was hoping that one day Dale would coach this team. Timing’s everything and the time is right now.” Hunter only wanted to coach the Capitals — as head coach, according to McPhee.
— On Dale Hunter, who played in the NHL for 19 years: “That guy played the same way every night, and it was hard... everyone who played with him revered him.”
— “I don’t think this had anything to do with Alex Ovechkin,” McPhee said. It was that the team wasn’t playing well as a whole.
— McPhee said he didn’t like some things he saw in training camp in the preseason but after the Capitals’ 7-0 start, he held off.
— McPhee says no players were consulted. “I don’t take that kind of input from players. We’ve never done that and we never will do that.”
—McPhee: “The reason for the change was we werent winning, obviously, and this wasn’t a slump. You can ride out slumps. This was simply a case of the players were no longer responding to Bruce.
“Bruce did a terriffic job here... but when the players aren’t responding you have to make a change.”